Swiss Parliamentarians – 2023 Letter to UEFA on Belarus Playing in Euro 2024

The letter sent by 30 Swiss Parliamentarians to UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin on 18 March 2023. The letter has been translated from the original.

Open letter to the UEFA President Mr Aleksander Čeferin

Dear Mr Čeferin

The Swiss men’s national team was placed in a qualifying group with the Belarus, together with Andorra, Israel, Kosovo and Romania, for the qualification for the 2024 European Championship.

Following Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, UEFA expelled Russia of all competitions. However, UEFA only took punitive measures in half-heartedness against Belarus, despite Russia’s direct support for the regime of Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko. Belarus will therefore have to play its matches of qualification for the Euro at home on neutral ground and without an audience.

This choice of UEFA is in contradiction with the decision of the International Olympic Committee. The IOC has excluded both Russia and Belarus from the 2024 Olympic Games following the war of aggression against Ukraine. This decision therefore takes into account the fact that Belarus is an accomplice of Russia, because it provides Russia with a deployment area and bases for its attacks against neighbouring Ukraine. We support this clear position of the IOC and ask you to follow this example and to also exclude Belarus from all competitions by UEFA.

Furthermore, according to reports from Belarusian and Swiss human rights organisations, more than 1,400 people are currently imprisoned in Belarus for political reasons. Among these political prisoners is Ales Bialiatski, a prominent Belarusian activist of Human Rights who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2022. He was sentenced on 3 March 2023 to a draconian prison sentence of 10 years.

In its 2021 Human Rights Commitment, UEFA pledged to respect and promote human rights in all areas of football. In this regard, we expect UEFA to stop ignoring the detention of over 1,400 prisoners policies in Belarus and that it respects its self-imposed obligations in matters of human rights. UEFA must not turn a blind eye to the crimes of the regime of Lukashenko.

We cannot silently accept that the Swiss national team faces, in a qualifying match for the Euro, the team of a country which is responsible for the most serious human rights violations and which supports the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine.

We would like to urge you to immediately exclude Belarus from all UEFA competitions and in particular Euro 2024 football. The game Switzerland-Belarus scheduled for March 25, 2023 on Serbian soil should not take place while, in at the same time, more than 1,400 political prisoners are incarcerated in Belarus and that this country supports the war of aggression against Ukraine.

Please accept, Madam, Sir, the expression of my distinguished sentiments

Nicolas Walder, National Council, Geneva
Fabian Molina, National Council, Zurich
Katharina Prelicz-Huber, National Council, Zurich
Christine Badertscher, National Council, Bern
Christophe Clivaz, National Council, Valais
Brigitte Crottaz, National Council, Vaud
Laurence Fehlmann Rielle, National Council, Geneva
Fabien Fivaz, National Council, Neuchâtel
Claudia Friedl, National Council, St. Gallen
Tamara Funiciello, National Council, Bern
Corina Gredig, National Council, Zurich
Nik Gugger, National Council, Zurich
Barbara Gysi, National Council, St. Gallen
Eva Herzog, Council of States, Basel-City
Natalie Imboden, National Council, Bern
Marc Jost, National Council, Bern
Min Li Marti, National Council, Zurich
Raphaël Mahaim, National Council, Vaud
Lisa Mazzone, Council of States, Geneva
Mattea Meyer, National Council, Zurich
Martina Munz, National Council, Schaffhausen
Valérie Piller Carrard, National Council, Friborg
Stéfanie Prezioso, National Council, Geneva
Jon Pult, National Council, Graubünden
Franziska Ryser, National Council, St. Gallen
Priska Seiler Graf, National Council, Zurich
Lilian Studer, National Council, Aargau
Cédric Wermuth, National Council, Aargau
Felix Wettstein, National Council, Solothurn
Céline Widmer, National Council, Zurich