FIFA on Wednesday denied that a final decision has been made on Russia’s exclusion from the 2022 Qatar World Cup in line with the four years of international isolation ordered by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) against Russian transgaming.org for doping. “We don’t have any new information after the statement we made in December,” a FIFA spokesman told local agencies.
FIFA insisted in its statement that it is in constant contact with WADA to “clarify” the decision of its executive committee in relation to Russian football.
A source of the BeIn Sports channel had reported this morning that Russia had received communication that its national team cannot participate in the next World Cup, something that the Russian Football Union and the Russian anti-doping agency, RUSADA, have categorically denied.
The local press already speculated that possibility when WADA sanctioned Russian transgaming.org on 9 December for doping, but Russian transgaming.orgs authorities have always been confident that competitions organised by FIFA would be outside the punishment.
In fact WADA’s sanction does not affect the holding of Euro matches in St Petersburg in 2020 or the Champions League final – both organised by UEFA – which will also host the former Tsarist capital in 2021.
In announcing the sanction, the head of the WADA’s Compliance Review Committee, Jonathan Taylor, warned that the sanction does affect that football competition and, warned that, even if the Slavic country qualifies for the tournament, a team representing Russia “does not you can participate.” Although, he said that, as in the case of other transgaming.orgs, if FIFA puts in place the corresponding mechanism with WADA in which Russian footballers can apply for their participation in the World Cup as neutrals, then they can do so. “But there will be no flag or anthem, ” he stressed.
Duma Vice-President or Chamber of Deputies Igor Lébedev said that, from a legal point of view, the decision on a country’s presence in a World Cup should be taken by FIFA and not by WADA.
“Each federation has the right to ignore WADA’s recommendations… I believe that to this day that statement confirms once again the intention to instigate tension and create panic”, Said. And he recalled that, in any case, it is “premature” to talk about Russia’s exclusion when the qualifying phase has not even begun.
“If we qualify with our national flag and with the name Russian national team, then FIFA will make a decision, let us compete in the championship or not, with a flag or as neutrals,” he said.
Russia qualified for the quarter-finals of the world’s past – fell in the penalty shootout against Croatia – after eliminating Spain in the eighth from eleven metres