The Russian Football Union (FUR) has dropped its appeal against its suspension by soccer’s governing body FIFA, the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has said.
In an announcement made yesterday (April 5), CAS said that the FUR, which had launched its appeal to the Swiss body in early March after having its representative national teams suspended by FIFA (as a response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine in late February), has now withdrawn that submission.
The national governing body has simultaneously withdrawn its appeals against the soccer associations of Poland, Sweden, and the Czech Republic. Those three nations had refused to play Russia’s men’s team in qualifiers for the upcoming FIFA 2022 World Cup, making a ban FIFA’s only logistical way forward.
All three countries listed above had simply refused to face Russia in the playoffs, meaning FIFA was left with little option but to apply a full ban.
CAS has now said that the appeal procedure will be terminated shortly, adding that no procedural calendar had yet been established.
However, it is understood that similar Russian appeals – from the relevant sporting associations in that country – against their expulsion from the sports of gymnastics, rugby, rowing, and skating, will continue.
The main purpose of the Russian appeal to CAS was to secure a freeze of the overall FIFA ban, which will cover the World Cup in Qatar later this year.
The FUR hoped that CAS would enact such a freeze, which would – while CAS was deliberating FIFA’s initial decision and determining the legitimacy of the appeal – have allowed Russia to compete at the World Cup.
However, with CAS having rejected the option of a short-term freeze on the ban, the FUR has decided to withdraw its overall appeal.
The FUR will also continue to fight its case against UEFA, European soccer’s governing body, which took the decision to ban Russian national and club sides from its own competitions at the same time as the FIFA ban was put in place.
The two bans, side by side, currently mean that Russian teams will not be able to compete in any competitions organized by FIFA and UEFA and that the country will not be able to host any matches either.
In terms of the consequences, apart from Russia’s men’s team not going to the World Cup, the bans mean that their women’s team will not be competing at the UEFA Women’s European Championships in England later this year.
St Petersburg has also been stripped of hosting rights for the final of the prestigious UEFA Champions League continental clubs tournament.
FIFA and UEFA took the decision to ban Russian national teams and club sides after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) made a recommendation for all sporting federations and governing bodies to follow this course of action, in light of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
In the immediate aftermath of the invasion on February 24, FIFA and UEFA initially said that Russian national teams would be allowed to compete under the name of ‘Football Union of Russia’, as long as the national flag and anthem did not make an appearance at matches.
However, after the interjection from the IOC and following substantial pressure from Sweden, the Czech Republic, and Poland, the soccer bodies upgraded their decision to a full ban.
The suspensions of Russian teams by FIFA and UEFA have been mirrored by almost all sporting federations, prompted in part by the IOC's advisory.
Elsewhere, the organizers of tennis’ Wimbledon Grand Slam tournament in London have said they remain in discussions with the UK government over the participation of Russian players.
As it stands, players from Russia and Belarus (which has been materially aiding Russia in the invasion), will still be allowed to compete at the Championships in June and July.
Tennis’ seven governing bodies have collectively decided to not ban competitors from these two nations and have instead insisted that they appear in tournaments as neutral athletes.
Negotiations are currently taking place between officials from the All England Club at Wimbledon and the government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), over what rules will be in place.
The conversations are given more urgency due to the high profile of some of the athletes in question – Daniil Medvedev, the men’s number-one-ranked player, is Russian.
A spokesperson for the All England Club is quoted by The Times newspaper as saying: “This remains a complex and challenging issue, and we are continuing to engage in discussion with the UK government, the LTA, and the international governing bodies of tennis. We plan to announce a decision in relation to Wimbledon before our entry deadline in mid-May.”
Wimbledon 2022 will take place between June 27 and July 10.