Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic have demanded that Russia be stripped of its mandate to host the 2022 World Cup in the midst of the country’s ongoing conflict with Ukraine.
As it stands, Russia will host Poland in the semi-finals of the World Cup finals on March 24.
Should they emerge victorious, they would then play at home again in the Path B final against either Sweden or the Czech Republic, but all three countries are now pushing to change places.
What has been said?
Serious security problems have been raised in the wake of Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine, in which President Vladimir Putin has ordered troops into two rebel-held regions in their neighboring country.
Reports of explosions throughout Ukraine were widespread on Thursday, and Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic have responded by insisting that Russia should not be allowed to host any football matches while the situation develops.
“The Football Associations of Poland (PZPN), Sweden (SvFF) and the Czech Republic (FACR) express their firm position that the play-off matches … should not be played on the territory of the Russian Federation”, a joint statement from the three nations reads.
“The military escalation that we are observing has serious consequences and significantly lower security for our national football teams and official delegations.”
UEFA takes the Champions League final from Russia
Russia will already be deprived of its right to host the 2021-2022 Champions League final, which was originally scheduled to take place in St Petersburg on 28 May.
GOAL has confirmed that UEFA has made the decision to move the showpiece event in the midst of the escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine, with an official announcement expected on Friday.
The main governing body of European football has stated in a statement: “Following the development of the situation between Russia and Ukraine over the last 24 hours, the UEFA President has decided to convene an extraordinary meeting of the Executive Committee on Friday 25 February at 10:00 CET, to evaluate the situation and make all necessary decisions.
“Further communication will take place after the meeting with UEFA’s Executive Committee.”