The Poland national team will refuse to play Russia in the World Cup play-offs following their invasion of Ukraine.
Russia invaded neighbouring country Ukraine earlier this week following orders from President Vladimir Putin.
The invasion has caused much controversy. Many labelling the infiltration as unprovoked and unnecessary.
Poland Tell FIFA they will not play against Russia.
Poland are scheduled to face Russia in a month’s time on March 25. The winner of the tie is to play either Sweden or the Czech Republic four days later for a spot at the World Cup Finals in Qatar.
Today, a Polish FA spokesperson told Sky Sports News: “No more words, it’s 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 Russia.
“This is the only right decision. We are in talks with the Swedish and Czech federations to bring forward a common position to FIFA.”
Polish Players Have Their Say
Polish national team players such as Robert Lewandoski and Matty Cash have released statements alongside the Polish FA.
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. https://t.co/rfnfbXzdjF
— Robert Lewandowski (@lewy_official) February 26, 2022
Bayern Munich forward and Poland captain Lewandoski took to social media, stating: “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.”
Aston Villa right-back Matty Cash also posted on Twitter showing his support. Cash announced his national allegiance to Poland late last year. He mentioned that Polish teammate Tomasz Kedziora is still in Ukraine as he plays for Dynamo Kyiv.
Cash stated the following: “We, the players of the Polish national team, together with the Polish Football Association, decided that as a result of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, we do not intend to play in the play-off match against Russia.
“It is not an easy decision, but there are more important things in life than football. Our thoughts are with the Ukrainian nation and our friend from the national team, Tomasz Kedziora, who is still in Kyiv with his family.”
Cash scored for Villa in their 2-0 Premier League victory against Brighton on Saturday. He dedicated his goal to Kedziora.
That felt so good 😍😍 Stay strong bro and everyone in Ukraine ❤️🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/xbvwrTiB4s
— Matty Cash (@mattycash622) February 26, 2022
Sweden Support Poland’s Decision
The Swedish FA also released a statement mentioning that they will not play Russia if they have to face them in the final World Cup play-off round.
Swedish FA Chairman Karl-Erik Nilsson told a Swedish news outlet: “The illegal and deeply unjust invasion of Ukraine currently makes all football exchanges with Russia impossible.
“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.”