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Russia’s request to suspend World Cup playoff rejected

The Court of Arbitration for Sport on Friday refused to suspend FIFA’s ban on Russia taking part in the playoffs for the 2022 World Cup finals that was imposed over the invasion of Ukraine.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) is still to rule on the legal basis of the ban, but a decision is not expected for several weeks at least.

“The challenged decision remains in force and all Russian teams and clubs continue to be suspended from participation in FIFA competitions. The CAS arbitration proceedings continue,” the court said in a statement.

The Football Union of Russia had appealed against the suspension, hoping to gain permission to allow Russia to face Poland in a World Cup playoff that was due to have been played on March 24.

FIFA however has already granted Poland a bye into one of the European playoff finals on March 29 where they will face the winner of the semi-final between Sweden and the Czech Republic.

The CAS decision to keep Russia on the sidelines avoids a headache for FIFA, which could have been confronted by the refusal of Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic to face the Russians.

The Malta Under 21 national team were due to face Russia this month while the women’s national team were also scheduled to play the Russian selection next month.

Other sporting bodies have faced intense pressure to ban Russian competitors.

The International Olympic Committee has recommended that international federations exclude Russian teams and competitors.

The governing bodies of athletics, ice hockey, rugby, basketball, cycling, alpine skiing and climbing are among those to have banned Russian competitors, while tennis, swimming and judo will allow them to compete without national affiliation.

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