Cologne urges UEFA to ban the Belarusian club

German football club Cologne has called for Belarusian teams to be excluded from European competition due to the country’s support for Russia in its ongoing war against Ukraine.

Bundesliga club said Thursday that he wrote to UEFA asking to add Belarusian clubs to the entry ban for Russian teams and enlisted the support of other clubs.

Cologne will play in the playoffs for a place in the group stage of the UEFA Conference League. Potential rivals are Belarusian clubs BATE, Borisov, Gomel, Shakhtar-Salihorsk and Dynamo-Minsk.

Cologne said it was “asking UEFA to take drastic action and withdraw the teams from the competition” due to “the political situation and the Belarusian government’s support for Russia during the invasion of Ukraine.”

The club said it strongly condemns “the openly reported closeness of the Belarusian government to Russia, as well as behavior related to the war in Ukraine”, and called on its members to support its call for the expulsion of the clubs.

Belarus is a close ally of Russia and has allowed the country’s armed forces to use its territory to attack Ukraine. Russia has used joint military exercises with Belarus as cover to deploy its troops near the border with Ukraine before they advanced on Kyiv from the north in February.

UEFA already excluded Russian clubs and national teams from all his events, a decision upheld last week by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. UEFA allowed Belarusian teams to continue playing while the games are played outside of Belarus without spectators.

Cologne did not say what he would do if he was drawn with the Belarusian team.