— Published 9 March 2022

Russia referred to CAS


It had announced it would do so, and it has kept its word. The Russian Football Federation (RFF) has referred the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to contest its exclusion by FIFA and UEFA from all international competitions, including the 2022 World Cup play-offs in Qatar and the Women’s Euro. The Lausanne-based court announced this on Tuesday 8 March in a press release, in which it stated that it had opened two separate proceedings against FIFA and UEFA respectively. But, says CAS, Russia’s appeal also concerns the fifteen or so national federations that have expressed their refusal to meet the Russian team. CAS will have to act quickly. The play-off match for the 2022 World Cup was initially scheduled for 24 March in Moscow against Poland. The Swiss court says it will reveal more details on the timing and details of the appeal in the coming days. This first response from Russian sport may not be the last. The decision of the CAS will be all the more awaited. By siding with the football authorities, the Swiss court would be throwing out the rule of the political neutrality of the sports movement forever. Otherwise, a decision in favour of the Russian Football Federation would open the door to a long series of appeals by the Russian and Belarusian authorities, and even by athletes from both countries, against the international federations.