Russian football chief slapped with UK sanctions

Aleksandr Dyukov was sanctioned by Britain on Wednesday

Russian Football Union president Aleksandr Dyukov has become the latest prominent figure from the Russian sporting infrastructure to be hit with sanctions by the UK government. 

Dyukov, who was formerly the president of Zenit St. Petersburg and is a current member of UEFA's executive committee, was targeted with financial sanctions by Boris Johnson's ruling Conservative party the day before he was due to attend Thursday's UEFA Executive Committee meeting in Nyon, Switzerland. 

His sanctioning brings the total number of Russian figures (and their family members) to 82, including Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, who was hit with a swathe of financial restrictions by the UK. He is currently in the process of selling the London-based football club.

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In addition to Dyukov's sporting ties, he is also the chief executive of energy giant Gazprom Neft. 

Some members of the global footballing fraternity, including UEFA, have cut sponsorship ties to the majority state-owned Gazprom in the wake of Russia's military operation in Ukraine.

Announcing newly-imposed sanctions on Wednesday the UK Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs Liz Truss said the moves were intended to bring to a close the importation of Russian energy into the UK.

“Our latest wave of measures will bring an end to the UK's imports of Russian energy and sanction yet more individuals and businesses, decimating Putin's war machine,”  she said.

“Together with our allies, we are showing the Russian elite that they cannot wash their hands of the atrocities committed on Putin's orders. We will not rest until Ukraine prevails.” 

The timing of the sanctions could be seen as inconvenient for Dyukov, who is set to face a debate as to whether or not he will continue in his role with UEFA. He was elected to the position a year ago, and could be voted out at the ballot box.

Dyukov also raised eyebrows in the west recently when he announced intentions for Russia to bid for hosting rights to either the 2028 or 2032 UEFA European Championships, despite the Russian national team's current suspension by both UEFA and FIFA.

These potential bids are expected to be discussed at Thursday's meeting by UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, in addition to Dyukov's role with the organization. 

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