In an open letter to UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin, 30 Members of the Swiss National Council and Council of States from 13 cantons call on UEFA to exclude Belarus from the 2024 European Football Championship.
The open letter is the result of a joint initiative by National Councillors Nicolas Walder (Greens, Geneva), Fabian Molina (Social Democratic Party, Zurich) and Katharina Prelicz-Huber (Greens, Zurich). Earlier, on Wednesday 15 March, on the initiative of Polish Member of Parliament and former professional football player Tomasz Frankowski, another open letter from more than 100 Members of the European Parliament to UEFA was published, also calling for the exclusion of Belarus from the European Championship.
Previously, Libereco and Campax had launched a joint campaign under the slogan “Red card for human rights abusers and warmongers!” to demand that UEFA exclude Belarus from the European Championship. This demand voiced by the two Swiss NGOs is now strongly supported by the open letters sent by Members of Parliament from Switzerland and the European Union.
Switzerland-Belarus European Championship qualifying match on 25 March 2023
The open letter states: “That the Swiss national team should play in a European Championship qualifying match against the team of a country that is responsible for the most serious human rights violations and supports the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine is something we cannot condone.”
While UEFA has excluded Russia from all competitions, Belarus is still allowed to participate, notes Lars Bünger, President of Libereco Switzerland. This decision is in contradiction with the decision of the International Olympic Committee, which excluded Belarus and Russia equally from all competitions. UEFA is also in breach of its own 2021 Human Rights Commitment, which commits the European Football Association to respecting and promoting human rights in all areas of football.
Commenting on the publication of the open letter, Nicolas Walder, National Councillor for Geneva (Greens), declares: “The 2022 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Ales Bialiatski, has been sentenced to ten years in prison, making him just one of over 1400 democracy activists arbitrarily imprisoned by the Lukashenko regime. Under these circumstances, UEFA should not provide an honourable showcase for the dictatorship in Belarus and exclude the country from the 2024 European Championship.”