UEFA said in a statement on Wednesday that ‘children should not be punished’ for the actions of adults.
Ukrainian football teams are set to boycott UEFA competitions after the European governing body decided to lift a ban on Russian youth sides.
Matches involving Russian teams will be held without the country’s flag, national anthem, international kit and outside the territory of Russia.
Restrictions had previously prevented Russia from taking part in tournaments including the Women’s European Championship and the World Cup qualifiers.
UEFA said in a statement on Wednesday that children should not suffer because of the actions of adults, but clarified that senior teams at club and national levels would remain banned due to Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
“Children should not be punished for actions whose responsibility lies exclusively with adults and [UEFA is] firmly convinced that football should never give up sending messages of peace and hope,” the statement read.
“It is particularly aggrieving that, due to the enduring conflict, a generation of minors is deprived of its right to compete in international football,” it added.
The Ukrainian Association of Football (UAF) urged UEFA to maintain the blanket ban and added that the decision is groundless and tolerates Moscow’s aggression.
While England’s Football Association said its youth teams would not play against Russia, UEFA’s president, Aleksander Ceferin, insisted that UEFA’’s continuing suspension against Russian adult teams reflected its commitment to take a stand against violence.