No UCL for Russian clubs after CAS upholds ban

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Russia remains barred from Europe’s leading football competitions including the Champions League after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) rejected appeals by the national football federation and four clubs on Friday.

CAS upheld decisions by UEFA and FIFA which excluded Russian national teams and clubs following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Russia was already excluded from men’s World Cup qualifying and the women’s European Championship and its clubs now won’t feature in competitions such as the Champions League in 2022-23.

“The panel finds it unfortunate that the current military operations in Ukraine, for which Russian football teams, clubs, and players have themselves no responsibility, had, by reason of the decisions of FIFA and UEFA, such an adverse effect on them and Russian football generally, but those effects were, in the panel’s view, offset by the need for the secure and orderly conduct of football events for the rest of the world,” CAS ruled.

The decision leaves national champions Zenit St Petersburg out of the Champions League group stage. Another Russian team, Sochi, will be left out of the Champions League third qualifying round draw, scheduled for Monday. If Russian had been allowed to take part, it wasn’t clear where their home games could be hosted or if Ukrainian clubs would boycott.

CAS is also due to hear other cases involving Russian athletes and teams in numerous other sports. Many governing bodies have justified excluding Russia on similar safety grounds to those cited by UEFA.

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