LAUSANNE: Russia’s hopes of competing at the 2022 World Cup were effectively ended after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) rejected a request from the Russian Football Union to freeze FIFA’s suspension while their appeal is heard.

CAS said in a statement on Friday that the suspension of all Russian teams and clubs from FIFA’s competitions would therefore remain in force.

The decision effectively prevents Russia from taking part in World Cup qualifying playoffs, scheduled later this month, as no CAS hearing has yet been fixed.

Football governing bodies FIFA and UEFA had decided together that all Russian teams, whether national or club sides, be suspended from participation in FIFA and UEFA competitions until further notice after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“The CAS arbitration proceedings continue. A panel of arbitrators is currently being constituted and the parties are exchanging written submissions,” the CAS said in a statement.

Russia were scheduled to host Poland in a World Cup qualifying playoff on March 24.

FIFA said earlier this month that Poland would be given a bye to the final of their path in the playoffs on March 29, when they will play either Sweden or the Czech Republic.

The Polish FA had said that they would refuse to play against the Russian team. The Czech Republic and Sweden, who are in the same playoff path, had also ruled out facing Russia.

All three associations sent out a joint statement last month saying they would refuse to play regardless of what FIFA decided.

The World Cup will be held in Qatar from November.

Earlier this week, the CAS also upheld UEFA’s ban on Russian teams taking part in its competitions for the duration of its proceedings.

The decision meant that Spartak Moscow could not play their Europa League match against RB Leipzig, allowing the German club to advance to the quarter-finals.

Published in Dawn, March 19th, 2022

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