Ukraine legal loss to UEFA means Nations League relegation


LAUSANNE, Switzerland — The Ukrainian soccer federation lost its appeal against UEFA on Friday over forfeiting a Nations League game in Switzerland because of COVID-19 cases in the team.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling relegates Ukraine to the Nations League second tier next year and reprieves Switzerland, which was awarded a 3-0 win by default.

Ukraine had asked the court to order UEFA to reschedule the game or draw lots to decide the result. The options would have been a 1-0 win for either team or 0-0.

The case is the latest to uphold UEFA’s emergency rules for organizing international games safely during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ukraine’s whole squad was put into quarantine by medical officials in the Swiss city of Lucerne last November after several positive tests in mandatory pre-game testing.

UEFA protocols for games it organizes during the pandemic recognize the decision-making power of public authorities.

It was the final game for both countries in their four-team Nations League group.

The CAS judges decided “in the absence of viable rescheduling options being available, (Ukraine) was to be held responsible for the match not taking place.”

However, the judges said the Ukraine federation was “an unfortunate victim of the COVID-19 pandemic” and did not award legal costs to UEFA or the Swiss soccer body.

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