Wales still hopes to play in Portugal instead of Russia

Closed hearings on the appeal by the Football Association of Wales (FAW) against the decision of the Control and Disciplinary Body (CDB) of the European Union of Football Associations (UEFA) which rejected the FAW protest against the result of the second play-off match of the European football championship of 2004 with Russia's national team in Cardiff on November 19, 2003 will be held in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne on Wednesday.

The CAS approved the composition of the panel which will consider the FAW appeal. Of 120 arbiters Wales picked judge of the Supreme Court of Great Britain Peter Leaver as its representative, and UEFA - lawyer Massimo Coccia of Italy. On the sides' agreement, Austrian Professor Michael Geistlinger was appointed president of the court of arbitration.

On February 3, 2004 the UEFA CDB rejected the protest of Wales against the second play-off match of the EURO-2004 with Russia's national team (Russia won it 1-0). FAW demanded that a technical defeat of Russia be registered in connection with the fact that midfield player Yegor Titov, who was later, on January 21, 2004, disqualified by UEFA for the positive doping test (traces of prohibited bromantan were found in it), participated in the match in Cardiff which Wales lost (the first game in Moscow ended in a goalless draw).

The FAW top officials did not stop at that and filed an appeal against the UEFA decision. On March 19, 2004 the UEFA Appeals Body turned it down, too. After that the FAW filed an appeal with the top instance - the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne.

It should be kept in mind, however, that only a civil court can take a legally binding decision.

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