Poland refuse to play Russia in World Cup qualifying play-off next month due to Ukraine invasion
The two nations are set to meet in March with a place in Qatar at stake, however the Poles say they will not take part
Poland will not play their World Cup qualifying play-off tie against Russia because of the nation’s recent invasion of Ukraine, according to the head of the national federation.
The two sides are set to go head-to-head on March 24 – with the game scheduled to take place in Moscow – with the winner going on to meet Sweden or Czech Republic.
However due to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, Poland are refusing to participate in the encounter.
What has been said?
The head of Poland’s Football Association, Cezary Kulesza, tweeted: “No more words, time to act! Due to the escalation of the aggression of the Russian Federation towards Ukraine, the Polish national team does not intend to play the play-off match against Poland and Russia.
“This is the only right decision. We are in talks with the Swedish and Czech Republic federations to present a common position to FIFA.”
Lewandowski backs Polish FA decision
Poland striker Robert Lewandowski says he agrees with the decision to refuse to play against Russia.
He tweeted: “It is the right decision! I can’t imagine playing a match with the Russian national team in a situation when armed aggression in Ukraine continues.
It is the right decision! I can’t imagine playing a match with the Russian National Team in a situation when armed aggression in Ukraine continues. Russian footballers and fans are not responsible for this, but we can’t pretend that nothing is happening.
— Robert Lewandowski (@lewy_official) February 26, 2022
“Russian footballers and fans are not responsible for this, but we can’t pretend that nothing is happening.”
The Bayern Munich star also voiced his support for the Ukrainian people on social media, saying: “Everything that is beautiful in sports is contradictory to what war brings. For all people who value freedom and peace, this is a time of solidarity with the victims of military aggression against Ukraine.”