Champions League – verdict: Fortuna Düsseldorf does not want to play against Russians

Dusseldorf (dpa) – The German table tennis champion Borussia Dusseldorf does not want to compete against one of the two Russian clubs Fakel Orenburg or UMMC Yekaterinburg, even if the sports court decides to reschedule this year’s Champions League final.

“It’s a moral question. Our attitude hasn’t changed,” said manager Andreas Preuss of the German Press Agency. After the Russian attack on Ukraine in February, the Düsseldorf team had already declared that they no longer wanted to play in Russia or against a Russian team.

As a reaction to this war, the European table tennis association ETTU had excluded all Russian and Belarusian teams from international competitions. Since this also affected the two Champions League semi-finalists from Orenburg and Yekaterinburg, defending champion Düsseldorf was declared the Champions League winner on March 3 after their own semi-final success against Bundesliga rivals 1. FC Saarbrücken.

However, both Russian clubs and the Russian Table Tennis Association appealed against this decision to the sports court of the ETTU and were at least partially right last week. According to a verdict by the Board of Appeal, Russian and Belarusian national teams, but not Russian and Belarusian club teams, may be suspended from international competitions. Russian clubs should not be punished for the actions of the Russian government.

In a statement, the ETTU reacted “disappointed” to this decision and provisionally dismissed Borussia Düsseldorf as the Champions League winner. A spokesman for the association replied to the dpa request that the procedure would no longer be commented on until “further decisions” were made. The ETTU leadership is currently discussing possible consequences of the verdict, such as canceling the entire Champions League season or going before the International Sports Court CAS.

“It’s a very complex matter. We’re waiting for the result. Because ETTU has to decide how to deal with the Russian clubs next season,” said Preuss.