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Russia to appeal to sports court against World Cup ban

The Russian football federation (RFU) said on Thursday that it will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against its expulsion from the 2022 World Cup and all international competitions.

Russia was due to face Poland on March 24 in a World Cup play-off. But on February 28, FIFA and UEFA banned the country from all competitions in response to the invasion of Ukraine. 

In a statement in Russian, the RFU said it planned to launch a single lawsuit against the global and European governing bodies to “demand the restoration of all men’s and women’s national teams of Russia for all types of football.”

It added that it planned to seek “compensation for damage.”

On Monday, FIFA and UEFA announced the expulsion of Russia from all international football.

“FIFA and UEFA have today decided together that all Russian teams, whether national representative teams or club teams, shall be suspended from participation in both FIFA and UEFA competitions until further notice,” read a joint statement.

The RFU responded on Monday by denouncing the suspension as “discriminatory”.

The RFU statement complained that they had been unfairly treated, saying it believed  “FIFA and UEFA did not have a legal basis when deciding on the suspension of Russian teams. It violated the fundamental rights of the RFU as a member of FIFA and UEFA, including the right to take part in competitions.”

“The Russian Football Union was also not granted the right to present its position, which violated the fundamental right to defence.”

It said “FIFA and UEFA did not take into account other possible options”.

The RFU said it “will insist on an accelerated procedure for considering the case.” 

Russia were scheduled to play Poland in a qualifying play-off semi-final on March 24, and might have faced Sweden or the Czech Republic on March 29 for a place in the World Cup finals in Qatar later this year.

FIFA originally announced that Russian teams would be allowed to continue under the name of the Football Union of Russia, playing home games on neutral territory and behind closed doors, and with the Russian flag and anthem banned.

Those measures were dismissed as “totally unacceptable” by Polish FA president Cezary Kulesza, who added that Poland would not play against Russia, “no matter what the name of the team is.”

The Swedes and Czechs also said they would not face the Russian team.

The RFU questioned their motives.

“The decision to withdraw the national team from qualification for the 2022 World Cup was made under pressure from direct rivals in the play-offs, which violated the sporting principle and the rules of fair play.”

Russia were supposed to play the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland in their group at the women’s European championships in England in July.

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