Poland refuses to play World Cup qualifier against Russia

Poland “does not plan to play the play-off match” at the 2022 World Cup against Russia, scheduled for March 24 in Moscow, due to the invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops, announced on Saturday the president of the Polish federation on Twitter.

“Enough talk, it’s time to act. Due to the escalation of the aggression of the Russian Federation in Ukraine, the team of Poland does not plan to play the play-off match against the team of Russia,” wrote Cezary Kulesza, adding that “this is the only correct decision” and that he is working with the Swedish and Czech federations to present a common position to FIFA.

Sweden and the Czech Republic could indeed also have to travel to Russia on March 29, for the final of the play-offs, if the Russians qualify on the 24th against the Poles.

The world of sport launched several sanctions against Russia on Friday, after the military intervention in Ukraine, withdrawing the organization of the prestigious final of the Champions League football from Saint Petersburg, relocated to France, and canceling the Grand Prix of Sochi F1 scheduled for September.

Polish team captain Robert Lewandowski called in a Twitter post on Friday evening for “solidarity with the victims” of the Russian attack.

“All that is beautiful in sport is the opposite of what war brings. For all people who cherish freedom and peace, this is the time of solidarity with the victims of military aggression in Ukraine”, wrote Lewandowski, before announcing that he would discuss with his teammates to arrive at a common position on the question and present it to the Polish federation.

The federations of the three countries likely to go to Russia at the end of March during the World Cup play-offs, Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic, had jointly asked, in a press release published Thursday, to relocate these meetings.

So far, Fifa has not yet taken the slightest measure against Russia, contenting itself on Thursday with saying that it is “concerned” about a “tragic and worrying” situation, according to its president Gianni Infantino. .