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Sport court upholds bans on Russian football
Pic: Shutterstock

15 Jul 2022 / sports law Print

Sport court upholds bans on Russian football

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has dismissed appeals by Russian football’s governing body and four of its clubs against bans imposed due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Football Union of Russia (FUR) had appealed against the decisions taken on 28 February by the world governing body FIFA and the European governing body UEFA to suspend all Russian teams and clubs from participation in their respective competitions until further notice.

Four Russian clubs – Zenit Saint Petersburg, CSKA Moscow, Dynamo Moscow and FC Sochi – had appealed against a UEFA document released in May that set out the impact and consequences of the earlier decision taken by its executive committee.

The panel decided that FIFA and UEFA had both acted within the scope of the discretion granted to them under their respective statutes and regulations.

‘Unprecedented’ circumstances

It said that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and the public and government responses worldwide, had created “unforeseen and unprecedented” circumstances to which FIFA and UEFA had to respond.

A CAS statement quoted the panel as saying that it was “unfortunate” that the current military operations in Ukraine had had such an adverse effect on Russian football teams, clubs, and players, as they had no responsibility for them.

But, the panel added, those effects were offset by the need for “the secure and orderly conduct of football events for the rest of the world”.

The bans meant that the Russian men’s national team could not take part in play-offs for the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar, and the women’s team was excluded from the European championship finals currently taking place in England. Club teams are excluded from the UEFA Champions League and other UEFA club competitions.

All six appeals were referred to the same panel of CAS arbitrators, who held hearings with the parties by video conference on 5 and 11 July.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland