Poland and Sweden announced that they would not play Russia in pivotal FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ playoff qualifiers in March after Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
"In light of the escalation of the Russian Federations aggression against Ukraine, the Polish national team is not going to play a match against the Russian Republic," President of the Polish Football Association, Cezary Kulesza, said on Saturday.
Moscow is scheduled to host Poland in the semi-finals of its strand of the World Cup Qatar 2022 playoffs on March 24 and, if its team advances, is scheduled to host either Sweden or the Czech Republic on March 29 in the Path B final.
Kulesza added the association was in talks with Swedish and Czech associations to present a common position to FIFA.
Polish national team players also took to social media to express their support for the move.
Sweden later on Saturday also announced it would not play the World Cup qualifiers against Russia.
"The illegal and deeply unjust invasion of Ukraine currently makes all football exchanges with Russia impossible," Swedish Football Association chairman Karl-Erik Nilsson said.
"We, therefore, urge FIFA to decide that the playoff matches in March in which Russia participates will be cancelled. But regardless of what FIFA chooses to do, we will not play against Russia in March."
FIFA president Gianni Infantino refused to take a decision regarding the playoffs when he held a press conference hours after the Russian invasion began on Thursday.
He said "FIFA condemns the use of force" adding he was "shocked" by what he had seen but would not be rushed into a decision over moving the matches.
"The first match is in a month, we hope of course that this situation will be resolved well before then," he said.
European football's governing body UEFA punished Russia on Friday by stripping Saint Petersburg of hosting European club footballs showpiece event the Champions League final on May 28 and awarded it to Paris.
Cover image credit: Shutterstock
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