Friday, July 15, 2022

Jamie Gardner, PA Chief Sports Reporter

An appeal against the exclusion of Russian national teams and clubs from world and European competition has been dismissed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

UEFA and FIFA imposed a ban on Russian participation in their tournaments on February 28th, days after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine.

The Football Union of Russia (FUR) and a group of Russian clubs appealed to CAS against the ban, but CAS announced on Friday that those appeals had all been dismissed.

Six appeals were lodged in all – one by the FUR against FIFA and one by the FUR against UEFA, and one each from four clubs against UEFA – Zenit St Petersburg, FC Sochi, CSKA Moscow and Dynamo Moscow.

All were dismissed by a CAS panel which heard them via video conference on July 5th and 11th.

A CAS statement explaining the dismissal said: “The panel determined that the escalation of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and the public and government responses worldwide, created unforeseen and unprecedented circumstances to which FIFA and UEFA had to respond.

“In determining that Russian teams and clubs should not participate in competitions under their aegis while such circumstances persisted, the panel held that both parties acted within the scope of the discretion granted to them under their respective statutes and regulations.”

Portugal took Russia's place at the Women's Euro
Portugal took Russia’s place at the Euro 2022 (Martin Rickett/PA)

The statement continued: “The panel found it unnecessary to characterise the nature of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, but only to focus on the consequences of such conflict for the competitions affected.

“The panel finds it unfortunate that the current military operations in Ukraine, for which Russian football teams, clubs, and players have themselves no responsibility, had, by reason of the decisions of FIFA and UEFA, such an adverse effect on them and Russian football generally, but those effects were, in the panel’s view, offset by the need for the secure and orderly conduct of football events for the rest of the world.”

The joint decision by FIFA and UEFA to suspend on February 28th came hours after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) executive board had issued a recommendation that international sports federations should not invite or allow the participation of Russian or Belarusian athletes in their events amid the invasion.

The ban meant Russia were unable to enter the play-offs for qualification for the men’s World Cup in Qatar, or to compete in the ongoing Women’s Euro. Portugal took Russia’s place in that event.

Belarusian national teams and clubs can still compete, but UEFA has insisted any home matches involving sides from that country must be played in a neutral territory and behind closed doors.

The FUR, FIFA and UEFA have all been approached for comment.

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