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Russia can play in 2022 World Cup qualifiers, says WADA-linked official

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An official linked to the World Anti-Doping Agency said on Monday Russia can participate in qualifying for the 2022 World Cup despite receiving a four-year ban from major global sporting events.

WADA’s executive committee placed the suspension on Russia earlier in the day after accusing Moscow of falsifying laboratory doping data handed over to investigators this year.

“Because the qualifiers don’t decide the world champion, Russia can take part. The decision applies to the World Cup tournament because it decides the world champion,” said Jonathan Taylor, chairman of WADA’s Compliance Review Committee.

“FIFA would come with some new proposals,” he added.

World football’s governing body said earlier on Monday it was seeking clarification about the extent of the suspension. Russia hosted the 2018 World Cup.

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“FIFA has taken note of the decision taken by WADA Executive Committee today,” a statement said.

“FIFA is in contact with WADA and ASOIF (Association of Summer Olympic International Federations) to clarify the extent of the decision in regards to football,” it added.

Russia will be ruled out of the next Olympic cycle, and its government’s officials will be barred from attending any major events, while the country will lose the right to host, or even bid, for tournaments.

Under the sanctions, Russian athletes will still be allowed to compete at the Olympics next year and the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics but only if they can demonstrate that they were not part of what WADA believes was a state-sponsored system of doping.

Russia’s participation at Euro 2020, in which Saint Petersburg will host four matches, is not affected by the ban because it is not defined as a “major event” for anti-doping purposes.

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