Russia lodges appeal over Uefa and Fifa bans


Russia has appealed against the Uefa and Fifa bans on its teams playing international football competitions imposed in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport, which is considered the highest arbiter in sport, on Tuesday said it has registered appeals against European and international football governing bodies.

The Russia football union is seeking to have its national teams and clubs reinstated with immediate effect, CAS said.

President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine has prompted a backlash across international football. Clubs, leagues and governing bodies have moved to suspend ties with Russia-linked investors and sponsors, while Russian-Israeli billionaire Roman Abramovich has put Chelsea football club up for sale as the wealth of rich Russians with links to Putin comes under scrutiny.

Fifa, which organizes the World Cup and Uefa, organizes Europe’s top club tournament, the Champions League, last week suspended Russian teams “until further notice”.

The decision has cost the Russian men’s team a place at the World Cup in Qatar later this year and forced Uefa to relocate the Champions League final to Paris from St Petersburg and scrap a longstanding partnership with Russian energy group Gazprom. Russia hosted the World Cup four years ago.

Alexander Dyukov, chief executive of Gazprom Neft and president of the Russian football union, is a member of Uefa’s executive committee.

Separately, almost 40 sports and culture ministers from around the world, ranging from Australia to the US on Tuesday published a statement calling on international sports federations to cut ties with Russia and “show solidarity with the people of Ukraine”.

Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the UK, which together with the US make up the G7 advanced economies, also signed the statement, which said “appropriate actions should be taken to limit sponsorship and other financial support from entities with links to the Russian or Belarusian states ”.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Premier League said it had suspended its broadcast deal in Russia. Uefa, which is yet to scrap its television deals in the country, has torn up a € 40mn-a-year partnership with Gazprom.

Richard Masters, chief executive of the Premier League, last week told the FT’s Business of Football summit that “sport and Russia can’t mix” while the war in Ukraine continues.

“One thing that would fix it is if Putin somehow gets taken out of his role [as Russian president] and replaced with somebody else, that would get everybody to a different place, ”Masters said.

Fifa on Monday said it would allow foreign players and coaches in Russia to “have the right to unilaterally suspend their employment contracts. . . until the end of the season ”, allowing them to sign with other clubs.

CAS said it expected to publish more information in the coming days.

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