‘Triumph of common sense’ if Russia get World Cup chance, says boss Karpin

Russia manager Valeri Karpin believes a FIFA ban should be overturned to allow his side to take part in the World Cup playoffs

Russia manager Valeri Karpin says he wants "justice" and is "hoping for the best" after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) refused to suspend FIFA's ban on Russia taking part in the playoffs for the Qatar 2022 World Cup finals because of the attack on Ukraine.

The governing body for world football and its European counterpart, UEFA, suspended Russian teams from its competitions on March 1, acting five days after the conflict started in a huge blow to Karpin and his players.

The 2018 World Cup hosts had been scheduled to host Poland in a playoff semifinal on March 24, when victory would have earned them a final at home to the winner of the concurrent game between Sweden and the Czech Republic.

A CAS announcement on Friday dismissed an appeal by the Russian Football Union to have the ban overturned, although the court is not expected to rule on the legal basis for the ban for several weeks.

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Asked whether he thought Russia's playoff bid could be revived, Karpin told Tass: "I still hope for it – and it is difficult to say what prerequisites for this may be.

"The situation is changing every day. For now, we can only hope for the best. It will be, as you said, a triumph of justice and common sense [if Russia are reinstated]. Ideally, we should get the right to [contest] playoffs for getting into the World Cup."

Poland were given a bye and will host Sweden in Chorzow on Tuesday to decide who reaches the final.

Karpin accepted that it "is not for me to decide" how the situation might be resolved if Russia's qualification bid is allowed to resume despite the finals places being finalized in their absence. 

The former international, who has jointly returned to his job at former club Rostov while the national side are in limbo, was pleased with a training camp Russia held this month and said he could call up stars playing in other countries next time.

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"Any coach is, in fact, a teacher. Continuing the analogy, I would like to educate talented students, to lay down the qualities that, in the opinion of our coaching staff, are necessary for modern football players," he philosophized.

"And, of course, we all hope that Russia will be returned to the international arena and we will also face sports [challenges].

“I thanked everyone for their work and asked them not to forget about our requirements. And, of course, I wished for us to gather again soon and prepare for official matches.

"They were ready for this – they looked not weaker, but even stronger than before."

Following his appointment in July 2021, Karpin was only denied automatic qualification for the finals by a late Croatia goal in Russia's final qualification group match in Zagreb.

The former Spartak Moscow manager said that Russia will not look for opponents until the CAS has made a final decision.

Poland and the two teams Russia could have faced in the playoffs had publicly refused to play against them.

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