Wales lose appeal over Euro 2004 qualifier

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The Independent Football

Wales failed yesterday in their third and final attempt to have Russia thrown out of Euro 2004 over a failed drug test.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport dismissed their case to gain a place in next month's tournament in Portugal.

The Russian midfielder, Igor Titov, failed a drug test after the first leg of the qualification play-off against Wales in November and played in the second leg. Russia won 1-0 on aggregate to secure a place in the tournament, which begins on 12 June.

The Welsh FA had asked the CAS, the supreme global sports court, to cancel the result and award Wales a 3-0 win on aggregate. Wales had widely been expected to lose the case, which was a last-ditch attempt to secure a berth at their first major tournament for nearly half a century.

"We are very disappointed that we couldn't persuade CAS to overturn the decision of Uefa and to punish the Football Union of Russia," said David Collins, secretary-general of the FA of Wales.

Vyacheslav Koloskov, the head of the Russian FA, said there was "no sense of logic" in Wales' repeated attempts to expel his team.

The CAS's decision upholds those made in February and again in March by Uefa, who said that at the time there was no punishment for a team when one individual had failed a drug test.

Titov tested positive for the banned stimulant, bromantan, after the 0-0 first leg when he was an unused substitute. He then played in Russia's 1-0 win in Cardiff four days later.

Titov, who plays for Spartak Moscow, was later banned for a year and fined, but Wales claimed the Russian soccer union also should have been punished for fielding him.