The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) yesterday (March 8) confirmed that it has registered appeals from the Russian Football Union (RFS), the national soccer federation, against the decisions taken by world governing body FIFA and  European counterpart UEFA to suspend the country’s teams from their respective competitions.

FIFA and UEFA jointly announced at the end of last month (February 28) the suspension of Russia and Russian club sides from all international and continental competitions until further notice due to the country’s invasion of Ukraine, which the United Nations said yesterday has seen 2 million people flee the country and on Monday (March 7) had caused 406 deaths and 801 injuries among civilians.

Subsequently, on March 3, the RFS indicated its intention to appeal the suspensions, stating: “The RFS believes that FIFA and UEFA did not have a legal basis when deciding on the removal of Russian teams. It violated the fundamental rights of the RFS as a member of FIFA and UEFA, including the right to take part in competitions.

“In addition, the decision to withdraw the national team from qualification for the 2022 World Cup was made under pressure from direct rivals in the playoffs, which violated the principle of sports and the rules of fair play.

“The RFS was also not given the right to present its position, which violated the fundamental right to defense. In addition, when making decisions, FIFA and UEFA did not take into account other possible options for action, except for the complete exclusion of participants from the competition from Russia.”

The body also noted that it would “insist on an expedited procedure” so that Russian teams could participate in their next scheduled matches.

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CAS has now confirmed that as part of its appeals the RFS has requested the reinstatement of all Russian teams and clubs for participation in FIFA and UEFA competitions.

In confirming that the RFS has lodged its appeals, CAS also indicated that the body has also “filed a request to stay the execution” for each challenged decision, but it made no mention of a request for an expedited process.

This could mean that the RFS opted instead to request that its teams simply remain free to participate in FIFA and UEFA competitions while the appeal process is ongoing.

In response to the appeals, CAS has said it “will seek the position of the respondent parties with respect to the FUR’s requests to stay the execution of the challenged decisions and as to the organization and planning of each arbitration procedure.”

It also noted that it anticipates being able to share further information on the proceedings “in a few days’ time, once a decision has been issued with respect to the requests for a stay.”

The FIFA appeal was filed against the world governing body itself, as well as UEFA and the respective soccer associations of Sweden, the Czech Republic, Montenegro, and Malta.

The UEFA appeal was filed against the continental governing body itself, as well as the Greek, Danish, Belarusian, Luxembourgish, Austrian, Maltese, Portuguese, English, Spanish, Irish, and French federations. 

The suspensions of Russian teams by FIFA and UEFA have been accompanied by widespread suspensions of Russian participation by sporting federations, prompted in part by an advisory by the International Olympic Committee.

There have also been widespread terminations of commercial and broadcast partnerships with Russian organizations within the sports industry.