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18 March 2022

Russia’s Qatar World Cup hopes appear to be over after bid to delay suspension rejected

18 March 2022

Russia’s participation in the World Cup in Qatar is almost certainly over after a move to delay their suspension while an appeal was heard was rejected.

Football’s world governing body FIFA suspended the Russian federation from its competitions over the country’s invasion of Ukraine at the end of February.

Russia appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and asked that the suspension be stayed pending the outcome of the appeal.

However, CAS announced on Friday that the Russian request for a stay had been rejected and that the suspension remained in force.

Russia were due to compete in the World Cup play-offs later this month, but with no date fixed for the appeal to be heard it would seem that they are out of contention for the finals.

Russia were in a four-team play-off path also featuring Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic with the semi-finals and final being played on March 24 and 29.

Poland, who had originally been due to play Russia in a play-off semi-final, have been granted a bye to the final where they will face either Sweden or the Czech Republic.

Poland, and their players like star striker Robert Lewandowski, pictured, had refused to play against Russia (Rafal Oleksiewicz/PA) (PA Archive)

The CAS statement concluded: “The CAS arbitration proceedings continue. A panel of arbitrators is currently being constituted and the parties are exchanging written submissions. No hearing has been fixed yet.”

A request to stay a similar suspension imposed by UEFA at the same time as the FIFA sanctions were issued was rejected earlier this week.

Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic sent a joint letter to FIFA at the end of last month saying they would refuse to face Russia in the play-offs over its invasion of Ukraine.

FIFA initially stopped short of an outright ban, and on February 27 said a Russian team could compete under certain conditions, including that the team play on neutral territory, and under the banner of the ‘Football Union of Russia’. That stance was rejected by the three countries in their play-off path.

The following day FIFA and UEFA jointly announced the suspension of Russia from their competitions, which followed a recommendation from the International Olympic Committee’s executive board to international sports federations to suspend Russian and Belarusian athletes and teams until further notice.

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