Just 48 hours after they were banned from competing in all FIFA and UEFA sanctioned competitions for the foreseeable future, Russia – in trademark fashion – have come out fighting.
The Russian Football Union (RFU) has confirmed that it plans to challenge the ban, which was imposed as a result of their invasion of Ukraine, and will lodge an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
As things stand, the banning order has seen Russia kicked out of their play-off with Poland in World Cup 2022 qualifying, with the winner then playing against either Sweden or the Czech Republic for a place at the finals in Qatar. However, Poland have since been handed a bye by FIFA.
The Russian women’s team, meanwhile, have been barred entry from this summer’s European Championships, and Spartak Moscow have also been dumped out of the Europa League at the expense of RB Leipzig.
A joint statement from the governing bodies revealed the suspension would last ‘until further notice’, and confirmed that ‘football is fully united here and in full solidarity with all the people affected in Ukraine.’
However, the RFU has demanded that all Russian teams be immediately reinstated, and called on both FIFA and UEFA to ‘expedite’ an appeal hearing.
“The RFU will demand the restoration of all men’s and women’s national teams of Russia in all types of football in the tournaments in which they took part (including in the qualifying round of the World Cup in Qatar), as well as compensation for damage,” their statement reads.
“If FIFA and UEFA refuse such a procedure, a requirement will be put forward for the introduction of interim measures in the form of suspension of FIFA and UEFA decisions.”
What is the Court of Arbitration for Sport?
The Court of Arbitration for Sport, or CAS as it often referred, is a sort of independent high court designed to settle sporting disputes that arise.
They are often seen as a last chance saloon for complainants, and often have a sympathetic approach for those that use them – see the overturning of Manchester City’s European football ban as just one example of that in action.
CAS also decreased Michel Platini’s six-year ban from all footballing activity, initially dished out by UEFA as part of a corruption case, to four years, and they were pivotal in seeing Gibraltar recognised as a member nation of both FIFA and UEFA.
Away from football, CAS has been consistently involved in the governance of athletics. They suspended the regulations set out by the IAAF governing intersex athletes, and demanded that the authority scientifically proved a link between elevated testosterone levels and enhanced sporting performance.
While often sympathetic to their complainants, CAS have shown little mercy involving cases of doping in sport. In 2016, they upheld the verdict that Russian athletes should be banned from the Summer Olympics, and subsequently rejected the appeal of 67 Russians to appear at the Games as ‘neutral’ athletes.
Will CAS be as anti-Russia this time around?