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Russia lose bid to freeze WC qualifier ban

Russia’s request to freeze a FIFA ban on their national soccer team for next week’s World Cup qualifying playoffs has been denied.

FIFA said on Friday that the Court of Arbitration for Sport had dismissed the Russian soccer federation’s bid for an urgent interim ruling to delay their suspension pending a full appeal, which could come within weeks.

The CAS decision means Russia won’t be able to play Poland in World Cup qualifying on Thursday.

The latest ruling follows a similar CAS refusal on Tuesday to freeze UEFA’s ban on Russian national and club teams in European soccer.

Russian athletes have been banned from competing in multiple sports because of the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Belarusian athletes have also been banned because their country has been an ally of Russia.

The Russian soccer federation could still get the FIFA ban overturned before another round of international games in early June.

A Russian victory at CAS might then force this month’s playoffs to be replayed.

Ukraine are also in the World Cup playoffs, and their scheduled game on Thursday against Scotland was postponed by FIFA until June.

Ukraine or Scotland will advance to face either Wales or Austria – who play in Cardiff next week – with a place at this year’s World Cup in Qatar at stake.

Poland, who have been granted a bye due to Russia’s ban, will face either Sweden or the Czech Republic on March 29 for a place at Qatar 2022.

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