Russia captain Artem Dzyuba has asked not to be included in the latest national team squad due to his family ties with Ukraine.
Last month, Russia began an attack on neighboring Ukraine, much to the chagrin of the international community.
The answer has been to hit Russia with wider sanctions, which have affected Russian businesses and elites.
There was also a strong reaction to the sport, as all Russian clubs and national teams were banned from FIFA and UEFA tournaments “until further notice”, meaning that the World Cup qualifiers for the senior men’s team have been suspended.
But the Russian Football Union (RFU) has appealed the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), with Russia still hoping to face Poland later this month.
With that in mind, Russian coach Valery Karpin is still naming a squad to play in the next international window, although Dzyuba – who plays for Zenit, a club owned by state-owned energy company, Gazprom – will not be available.
Karpin said: “We met Artem at the end of the Zenit training camp before the season, however, there are no obligatory phone promises. This applies not only to Dzyuba, but to all players.
“On Sunday, we spoke to Artem on the phone, and he confirmed that, as he said in the meeting, he really wanted to play for the national team.
“But now, because of the difficult situation in Ukraine, where he has many relatives, he apologized and asked for family reasons not to invite him to this gathering.
“We have agreed that we will keep in touch with him and follow his Zenit games.”