Sports court backs FIFA against Russian and Ukrainian clubs


The teams had launched a case against a transfer policy which allowed foreign players to suspend their contracts

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has ruled in favor of FIFA after the global football governing body faced a challenge from eight Russian clubs and one Ukrainian team regarding a transfer policy which allowed foreign players to suspend their contracts.

The Lausanne-based CAS published its verdict on Friday, saying that two panels had ruled that FIFA’s measures “were not grossly disproportionate and remained within the sphere of discretion granted to FIFA by Swiss law.”

The case involved the decision made by FIFA in June 2022, which extended a policy of allowing foreign players and coaching staff at Russian and Ukrainian clubs to unilaterally suspend their contracts until June 30, 2023, if they could not reach a mutual agreement with their teams.

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Russian football is at odds with FIFA. © Markus Gilliar / Getty Images
Russia responds to ‘discriminatory’ FIFA move

FIFA had initially implemented the emergency measures in March 2022 as a response to the conflict in Ukraine. The step was supposedly a way of allowing international players to leave Russian and Ukrainian teams without fear of financial repercussions amid the uncertainty caused by the fighting.

However, Russian football officials decried the measures as “discriminatory” and contrary to “the principles of contractual stability.” Eight Russian teamsZenit St. Petersburg, Dynamo Moscow, CSKA Moscow, Lokomotiv Moscow, Rubin Kazan, Sochi, Krasnodar and Rostov – formally appealed to CAS.

Ukrainian team Shakhtar Donetsk also launched an appeal against FIFA, arguing that the policy was unfair and deprived it of millions in potential transfer fees for players.

CAS said a detailed reasoning in the case was being finalized and would be provided to the various parties “shortly.”

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