Poland refuses to play Russia in World Cup playoffs

Warsaw, Poland — Wide support as Sweden implements its own plan to protest FIFA on Saturday as Poland refuses to play World Cup qualifiers against Russia next month in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine Got

Poland’s Football Federation President Tsezarie Cressa has announced Poland’s decision and is in talks with other federations to present a unified position to FIFA, which will be in charge of the match on March 24 in Moscow. Said.

“No more words, it’s time to act!” Kulesza wrote on Twitter, adding that the move was driven by “aggressive escalation.”

Polish captain Robert Lewandowski and goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny upheld the decision, and the Bayern Munich striker said, “You can’t pretend that nothing is happening.”

In the playoffs next month, Russia’s potential opponent Sweden later joined Poland, proclaiming that its national team will not play against Russians no matter where it takes place.

“Illegal and serious invasion of Ukraine is now making all football matches against Russia impossible,” said Karl Eric Nilsson, chairman of the Swedish Federation. “Therefore, FIFA requests that Russia decide to cancel the match in the March playoffs.”

The winner of the Poland-Russia match will host Sweden or the Czech Republic on March 29th and will compete in the World Cup in Qatar from November 21st to December 21st. 18.18.

Ukraine invasion sport
Poland’s Robert Lewandowski controls the ball during the Poland-England World Cup 2022 Group I Qualifying Soccer match at Narodwi Stadium in Warsaw on September 8, 2021. (Czarek Sokolowski, file / AP photo)

“We have a hard time believing,” Nilsson added. “FIFA will not follow our call. Russia will not be able to participate as long as this madness continues.”

Nilsson is also the first Vice President of the UEFA to rob Russia of hosting the Champions League final in St. Petersburg in May. The UEFA has decided to move the game to Paris on Friday.

Lewandowski, Poland’s highest scorer in history and winner of the FIFA Best Player Award for the past two years, supported Cressa’s announcement.

“I can’t imagine playing against Russia in the face of continued armed attacks in Ukraine,” Lewandowski said on Twitter. “Russian soccer players and fans are not responsible for this, but they cannot pretend that nothing is happening.”

FIFA has not yet taken a clear position about Russia hosting or playing against Poland.

The European football association UEFA said Friday that all Russian and Ukrainian teams would have to move their home games to play in other countries at the tournament.

A potential precedent for action is from 1992. Both FIFA and UEFA have excluded Yugoslavia from the competition following sanctions imposed by the United Nations at the outbreak of the war in Yugoslavia.

Earlier, Poland just said they didn’t want to play the qualifying playoff semifinals in Moscow.

In other sports, the Norwegian Ski Federation said on Saturday that Russian skiers would not welcome competing in Scandinavian countries for “violations of international law and attacks on Ukrainians.”

The Norwegian call was in direct conflict with the International Ski Federation (FIS) policy announced late Friday, a few days after winter sports forces won record 16 gold medals at the Beijing Olympics medal table. increase.

The Norwegian Federation said Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine after Thursday required “international condemnation and sanctions.”

On Friday, FIS withdrew the rest of the season’s World Cup events from Russia, but later allowed Russians to continue to compete.

As Russian troops approached the Ukrainian capital and skirmishes were reported around it, Kiev residents prepared for another night to evacuate underground on Saturday. Ukrainian leaders claimed that Ukrainian troops had vowed to repel the assault and continue to fight. “We will win,” said President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Associated Press