The suspension of a contract... will mean that players and coaches will be considered “out of contract” until 30 June 2022 and will therefore be at liberty to sign a contract with another club without facing consequences of any kind.
The ongoing war has prompted FIFA to take emergency action, allowing foreign players in both countries to move on loan to clubs abroad until the end of June 2022.
The Bureau of the FIFA Council has decided that all employment contracts of foreign players and coaches in Ukraine are deemed "automatically suspended", while in Russia such individuals will "have the right to unilaterally suspend their employment contracts" should a mutual agreement not be reached with clubs by March 10.
The Ukrainian league has been suspended indefinitely, and FIFA said action has been in taken "in order to provide players and coaches with the opportunity to work and receive a salary."
FIFA said in a statement: "The suspension of a contract... will mean that players and coaches will be considered “out of contract” until 30 June 2022 and will therefore be at liberty to sign a contract with another club without facing consequences of any kind."
The measures mean that foreign players in Russia and Ukraine will be allowed to sign with clubs where the transfer window is closed, so long as the registration is completed by April 7.
In addition, individual clubs are not able to sign more than two players who have benefited from the exemption.
However, FIFA's measures in Russia do not go far enough, according to FIFPRO, the players' union.
It said: "The decision to allow foreign players to only suspend their contracts and thus only temporarily leave Russian clubs is too timid. It will be hard for players to find employment for the remainder of the season with uncertainty looming over them and, within a few weeks, they will be in a very difficult situation once again.
"It is unsatisfactory even for players who are tied to short-term contracts in Russia where contracts typically end in December – and who may not want or be able to return after 30 June 2022 … FIFPRO communicated to Fifa last week that these players should be allowed to terminate their contracts.
"It is disappointing that other stakeholders in this process were not prepared to agree to this important step."
Major market opportunities
According to TransferRoom data, there are more than 160 players in Russia and almost 100 in Ukraine for which FIFA's temporary measures apply.
In the Russian Premier League, league leaders Zenit St Petersburg have the most valuable foreign players in the league.
TransferRoom's Expected Transfer Value (xTV) calculations show that six of the 10 most valuable foreigners in the RPL play for Zenit (see graphic below), with striker Yuri Alberto only joining the club in January from Internacional in Brazil.
FC Krasnodar, the Moscow quartet of Lokomotiv, Spartak, Dynamo and CSKA and Rubin Kazan all have a substantial number of foreign players who are now free to leave the club on short-term deals.
In Ukraine, Shakhtar have 14 foreign players on their books, and nine of them account for the 10 most expensive players in the league, per TransferRoom's xTV (see graphic below).
The outlier is Dynamo Kiev's Brazilian winger Vitinho, who joined the club from Athletico Paranaense in the 2021 Summer Window.
A number of Brazilian players have fled Ukraine and returned home.
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