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Belarus Stirs Buzz with Historic Beach Soccer World Cup Move

Beach Soccer World Cup Belarus Historic Controversy

In the final moments of extra time, Ihar Bryshtsel, a seasoned player, scored the crucial goal that secured Belarus a spot in the beach soccer World Cup semifinals for the first time in history.

My last-second shot was out of this world! I am a big fan of Steph Curry. I saw him make a last-second shot. Bryshtsel expressed his excitement about scoring one himself for FIFA afterwards.

Before Belarus defeated two-time champion Portugal, several players at the tournament thought Belarus had a shot at winning the whole thing.

However, the team’s involvement in Dubai has sparked some controversy.

Belarus, who have not advanced beyond the group stage previously, secured qualification for the tournament along with Italy, Portugal, and Ukraine. The Ukrainian football association (UAF) has urged Beach Soccer Worldwide and FIFA to exclude Belarus from competition or require them to participate under a neutral banner due to their involvement in Russia’s conflict in Ukraine.

There are different rules for athletes competing in various sports. The IOC has decided to allow individual Russian and Belarusian athletes to participate in the Paris Olympics as neutrals, without their national flag or anthem, under the condition that they have not actively supported the war or are not contracted to the military. Earlier this year, tennis player Aryna Sabalenka secured her second consecutive Australian Open victory while competing under a neutral flag.

It is evident that Ukraine’s wish for Belarus to compete in Dubai under neutral colors was not fulfilled. It seems that the Ukraine team did not register for the tournament, even though they qualified, because the Ukrainian Sports Ministry has issued a decree prohibiting national teams from participating in events where Russia and Belarus are present. Ukraine did not take part in the last two tournaments due to the ongoing conflict, with the previous one being held in Russia in 2021.

UAF did not provide a response to DW’s request for comment.

No ruling on Belarus

Since 2022, the European governing body, UEFA, has expelled Russian football teams from all club and international competitions. However, in September 2023, UEFA lifted the ban, permitting the country’s U-17 sides to participate.

According to a FIFA spokesperson who spoke to DW, Belarus was not included in the FIFA Council‘s decision to impose bans, as only Russia was specifically named. As a result, Belarus can now participate in Dubai.

In 2023, more than 100 MEPs from the European Parliament called for Belarus to be expelled from participating in Euro 2024 qualifiers. However, UEFA only decided to prohibit Belarus from playing at home and revoked their hosting rights for the women’s U-19 Euros in 2025. MEPs did not provide a response when contacted by DW for a comment regarding Belarus’ involvement in Dubai.

Beach soccer attracts a large audience, with FIFA reporting that 63 million viewers tuned in to watch the last tournament in 2021. Back then and now, fans have been captivated by Ihar Bryshtsel’s performances and Belarus’ journey to the final four. Even in the sunny and sandy city of Dubai, the impact of war is still felt.


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