The Polish and Swedish national teams said they will not play against Russia in the upcoming World Cup qualifiers, referring to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The schedule says that Russia will meet Poland and Sweden to meet the Czech Republic on March 24. The winners of the two matches will play on March 29 for a berth in the World Cup 2022, which will be held this autumn in Qatar.
Cezary Kulesza, president of the Polish Football Association, published his organization’s position on Twitter on Saturday.
“This is the only right decision,” he wrote. “We are in talks with the Swedish and Czech federations to present a common position for FIFA.”
The Swedish federation released a similar statement on Saturday morning.
“The men’s national team will not play against Russia – no matter where the match is played. The Federal Board also urges FIFA to cancel the play-off matches in March in which Russia participates,” the organization wrote on Twitter.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino said on Thursday that with the first matches still a month off, there was time left for a decision.
“We are analyzing the situation and we will make the decision when we have to make it,” he said.
The sports world’s response to Russia’s march towards neighboring Ukraine has otherwise been quick.
The International Ski Federation canceled six upcoming World Cups throughout Russia, scheduled for March 20, and Formula 1 canceled the Russian Grand Prix scheduled for September 25. UEFA moved the Champions League final from St. Petersburg to Paris.
The International Olympic Committee also asked all international sports federations to cancel or relocate all events currently planned for Russia or Belarus.
In a statement issued on Friday, the IOC’s executive board said that Russia had violated the Olympic ceasefire with its early morning invasion of Ukraine on Thursday and that Belarus had also violated by supporting the actions ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
–Field Level Media