Russia should not be allowed to host World Cup qualifying playoff matches due to the nation’s invasion of Ukraine. Poland, Sweden, and the Czech Republic have said the respective football associations.
The four countries are in the same UEFA qualifying pathway for Qatar 2022, with Russia set to host Poland next month. Should they win that fixture, they will be at home to the winner of Sweden versus the Czech Republic.
A joint statement said they would not consider playing matches in Russia following President Vladimir Putin’s decision to launch military action into neighbouring Ukraine. All three insisted FIFA should find a neutral venue.
The joint statement read.
“Based on the current alarming development in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
“Including the security situation, the Football Associations of Poland (PZPN), Sweden (SvFF) and Czech Republic (FACR).
“Express their firm position that the playoff matches qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
“Scheduled for 24 and 29 March, should not be played in the territory of the Russian Federation.
“The signatories to this appeal do not consider travelling to Russia and playing football matches there.
“The military escalation we observe entails serious consequences and considerably lower safety for our national football teams and official delegations.
“Therefore, we expect FIFA and UEFA to react immediately and to present alternative solutions regarding places where We could play these approaching playoff matches.”
After finishing as runners-up in their respective qualifying groups, Russia, Poland, and Sweden confirmed their place in the second-stage playoffs.
The Czech Republic joined them as one of the two best-ranked Nations League finishers not already qualified or involved in the playoff pathway.
Russia already faces severe sanctions, including sports-related punishments, following their invasion.
In addition, the hosts will likely lose their Champions League final hosting rights.
Meanwhile, there is serious doubt over the Formula One Russian Grand Prix.
So, what’s next for the upcoming games?
FIFA and UEFA may relocate the play-offs to France or Germany.
Likewise, for more football news like this, click here.