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CAS, the War in Ukraine and Russian football bans

Football stadium
Friday, 16 June 2023 By Shane Sibbel

The Russian invasion of Ukraine commenced on 24 February 2022. Four days later the Bureau of the FIFA Council suspended Russia’s national teams from participation in FIFA competitions1. On the same day the UEFA Executive Committee suspended all Russian football clubs from participating in UEFA competitions, later removing those clubs, on 2 May 2022, from the list of participants in its competitions for the 2022/23 football season2.

The Football Union of Russia and four Russian football clubs thereafter appealed those decisions to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (“CAS”). In late November 2022 CAS dismissed those appeals in two arbitral awards handed down on the same day: Football Union of Russia v FIFA (CAS 2022/A/8708) (“the FIFA Award”) and FC Zenit JSC & Ors v UEFA (CAS 2022/A/8865 to 8868) (“the UEFA Award”).

This article discusses and analyses the arguments made in the case, and the author provide their opinion of what the case means for the response of sports organisations to future political disputes of this nature.

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Shane Sibbel

Shane Sibbel

Shane is a barrister at Blackstone Chambers and is highly rated senior junior with a practice focused on commercial disputes. He is regularly instructed against leading counsel, and has extensive advocacy experience of both trials and appeals. He balances sole instructions with working as part of a team on larger cases.    

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