Russia’s top four clubs challenge UEFA competition ban


BERLIN (AP) — The top four clubs of the Russian football league said on Friday that they have appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against a ban from next season’s European competition over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Zenit St. Petersburg, Dynamo Moscow, Sochi and CSKA Moscow are all eligible to qualify for the men’s European Championships according to their current league standings. They said they requested that the case be heard through expedited proceedings. The draw for the first round of the Champions League qualifier will be held on June 14.

Sochi said in a statement: “The action against Russian clubs is entirely based on their country, goes against sporting principles and is inherently discriminatory as long as football is not accessible to everyone.”

“We sincerely hope that the CAS ruling will be in line with the sporting values ​​defined by UEFA within the framework of its activities and the competitive spirit of football.”

The new case joined the legal tender of Russian teams and federations in various sports.

The European Football Federation (UEFA) banned Russian clubs from competing in a series of sanctions announced on May 2, and the Russian women’s national team was also excluded from this year’s European Championships and the 2023 World Cup. The men’s team was previously removed from this year’s World Cup qualifier playoffs by FIFA after opposing teams promised to boycott the match.

Excluding the four clubs, there is a cascading effect on teams across Europe in UEFA’s complex lottery system, which is based on the national ratings of the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League.

According to UEFA’s updated list of allotments, Russian Premier League winner Zenit will return to Celtic in place of Scottish champions in the next Champions League group stage.

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