Several countries have demanded that important World Cup qualifiers be moved from Russia
FIFA plans to reconsider whether Russia will host decisive World Cup matches in 2022 in March “urgently” after a petition from Sweden, Poland and the Czech Republic, the organization’s president, Gianni Infantino, has said.
Russia will host Poland in their World Cup qualifiers on March 24, followed by a final against the winner of the match between the Czech Republic and Sweden at home again five days later if they win.
In a joint statement to FIFA’s secretary general before Infantino spoke to reporters, Poland and the two potential finalists on Valeri Karpin’s side demanded that the games be held outside Russia, citing security fears due to the military offensive in Ukraine.
The statement called for immediate action from FIFA and UEFA, who are widely reported to be holding a crisis meeting to switch the Champions League final in May away from St. Petersburg. Petersburg.
“We have an obligation to look at this issue seriously, to analyze it,” said Infantino, who participated in the 2018 World Cup in Russia as part of his role.
“We will look at it as an urgent matter. We hope that the situation is resolved well before the first match.
“We are constantly reflecting on the role of sport in trying to bring people together in a peaceful environment.”
Earlier on Thursday, the Ukrainian Football Association (UAF) called on FIFA and UEFA to suspend Russia and its teams from their tournaments.
Losing the home advantage would be a blow to Russia in their attempt to reach a fourth final in a row.
Only a late defeat against Croatia in Zagreb automatically denied them qualification for the tournament in November and December after an undefeated group campaign at home.
Russian leaders say the country’s national security has been jeopardized by NATO’s invasion of Ukraine.
Moscow added that it has an obligation to protect the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, which were recognized as sovereign states earlier this week, from more attacks by Ukrainian forces.