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Court of Arbitration for Sport upholds bans on Russian clubs

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Friday upheld the ban on Russian clubs from European competitions for the coming season and Russia’s exclusion from international tournaments, as a result of the war in Ukraine. 

CAS rejected appeals by four Russian clubs against their banishment by UEFA from European competitions in 2022-2023 and another by the Russian Football Federation which contested its exclusion from all competitions organised by FIFA and UEFA. 

“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,” the Lausanne-based CAS said in its press release. 

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

Russian clubs and national teams were initially suspended “until further notice” by UEFA in February in the wake of the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

In early May, UEFA announced that “no Russian club” would participate in the 2022-2023 season of European club competitions, namely the Champions League, the Europa League or the Europa Conference League. 

Zenit Saint Petersburg, who were denied a place in the group stages of the Champions League because of the ban, CSKA Moscow, Dynamo Moscow and Sochi all challenged the decision.

Russia’s national team was kicked out of the qualifying competition for this year’s World Cup in Qatar by FIFA just before a crucial play-off tie against Poland in March.

Russia were also excluded from the Women’s European Championship currently taking place in England and will play no further part in the qualifying campaign for the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

“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… offset by the need for the secure and orderly conduct of football events for the rest of the world,” said CAS.

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