LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) – Russia remains barred from Europe’s top competitions including the Champions League after the Court of Arbitration for Sport rejected appeals by the national soccer body and four clubs on Friday.

CAS agreed with UEFA and FIFA decisions that excluded Russian teams and clubs after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Russia has already been eliminated from the men’s World Cup and the Women’s European Championship. Its clubs will not participate in competitions such as the Champions League in 2022-23.

“The group considers it sad that what is happening today in Ukraine, for which football teams, clubs, and Russian players are not responsible, because of the decisions of FIFA and UEFA, this has affected them and Russian football. Many times, but the result , according to the association, was withdrawn due to the need for safety and order in the international game of football,” CAS said.

The decision adds that FIFA and UEFA have not exceeded their authority while dealing with “unforeseen and unprecedented events”.

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The decision leaves the national champion Zenit St. Petersburg out of the Champions League group. Another Russian club, Sochi, is close to reaching the third round of the Champions League, which will take place on Monday. If the Russians were to be allowed to participate, it is unclear where their home games would be played or if Ukrainian clubs would boycott them.

The decision on Friday was highly anticipated by Russian clubs. They have been making preparations for the domestic games on the days when the European games will be played next season.

The CAS did not call the attack an “invasion” or “war” – terms rejected by Russia, which calls its actions a “special military operation” – and did not press charges.

After the strike began in February, Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic all pledged to boycott the World Cup final against Russia scheduled for March. This left UEFA and FIFA to decide between Russia or allowing the Russian team to qualify by default.

Russia’s men’s team has been kicked out of the ongoing Nations League, leading to a relegation. His next major tournament comes in March, when qualifiers begin for the 2024 European Championship. The country’s women’s team were replaced by Portugal at the European Championship in England this month and have been eliminated from next year’s World Cup. Russia was also banned from various youth and age-level sports.

CAS is also expected to hear other cases involving Russian players and teams in many other sports. Many governing bodies have justified excluding Russia on security grounds similar to those cited by UEFA.

The Olympics have largely followed the lead of the International Olympic Committee, which says its decision to exclude athletes from Russia and its partner Belarus is aimed at protecting competitors from injury.

Football cases were one of the first to be decided at CAS because it is almost time for the Champions League qualifiers.

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