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Russia will not play Poland in 2022 World Cup play-off as CAS rejects ban freeze following Ukraine invasion

Russia will not play Poland in the 2022 World Cup play-offs as the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has rejected their appeal to freeze their competition ban amid the invasion of Ukraine.

FIFA and UEFA initially announced their decision to suspend Russia from all world and European competitions after President Vladimir Putin gave the green light for troops to start occupying regions of Ukraine.

Russia were due to play Poland for a place in the final of the World Cup qualification play-offs, but that semi-final was suspended in light of the verdict.

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What's been said?

The Russian football association asked CAS for the suspension to be frozen pending the outcome of their appeal against FIFA's decision, but have now been dealt another major blow in their bid to qualify for the World Cup.

The March 24 play-off date with Poland will not be re-instated, with a statement released by CAS on Friday reading: "The president of the appeals arbitration division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has rejected the request filed by the Football Union of Russia (FUR) to stay, for the duration of the CAS proceedings, the execution of the FIFA Council’s decision to suspend all Russian teams and clubs from participation in its competitions until further notice (the challenged decision). 

"Accordingly, the challenged decision remains in force and all Russian teams and clubs continue to be suspended from participation in FIFA competitions. The CAS arbitration proceedings continue. 

"A Panel of arbitrators is currently being constituted and the parties are exchanging written submissions. No hearing has been fixed yet."

Russia's World Cup dream in tatters

Should Russia's wider appeal also be unsuccessful, they will not be allowed to compete in any further qualification games or the World Cup itself, which is due to kick off in Qatar on November 21.

Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic have already sent a joint letter to FIFA confirming that they will refuse to play against Russia while the country's military conflict with Ukraine continues.

As it stands, Poland have been given a bye to the play-off final, while Ukraine have seen their separate semi-final against Scotland postponed until June.

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