FIFA will allow foreign players in Russia to terminate contracts

On Monday, FIFPro described FIFA’s interim solution as “too timid”.

“It will be difficult for the players to find work for the rest of the season with uncertainty looming, and in a few weeks, they will be in a very difficult situation again,” she added. “It is unsatisfactory even for players on short-term contracts in Russia – contracts usually expire in December – who may not want to or can return after June 30, 2022.”

Under local rules, Russian clubs can have up to eight foreign players, known as Legionnaires, on their rosters. The current Russian champion Zenit St Petersburg includes five Brazilians, a Colombian, a Croatian and one player from Kazakhstan.

At least one club, Krasnodar, announced last week that it would allow foreign players and coaching staff to suspend their contracts. His German coach Daniel Farke, the former manager of Premier League club Norwich, has resigned after less than two months out of his contract without overseeing a single match. But foreign players continued to wear their clothes for the Russian national teams in The last round of the league matches during the Weekend.

Russia’s declaration of war exposed loopholes in the platforms under which sports organizations such as FIFA are regulated. After the invasion began and drew global condemnation, FIFA lawyers and officials scrambled to find a way to take actions that could be justified under its regulations. At first, football officials proposed measures that did not amount to a complete ban: Russia was supposed to be banned from playing on the homeland, forbidden to use its flag and even its name. But that sanction faded within 24 hours when opponents of Russia – and about a dozen other countries – announced that they would refuse to share the stadium with Russia anywhere and anytime matches were played.

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A day later, FIFA expelled Russia’s teams and clubs from world football. But her lawyers are already preparing for a battle over the decision. The Russian Football Association has called for an urgent hearing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in order to make a decision before March 24, the date Poland was supposed to host the World Cup qualifiers.

Russia argued that FIFA had no legal standing to remove it from the competition.

FIFA officials are particularly concerned about the case, knowing that Russia may be able to test the legality of the decision. FIFA’s argument is expected to rely on the organization’s supremacy as the organizer of the World Cup in order to organize a smooth tournament and ensure the safety and security of its participants.

Russia has already contacted potential arbitrators for this case. (Both sides are able to appoint one, with a court-appointed chair of the jury.) The hearing, regardless of the outcome, is likely to lead to a renewed scrutiny of the court, a largely opaque body that handles most hearings behind closed doors.

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