Russia should not be allowed to host World Cup qualifiers next month after the invasion of Ukraine, the football associations of Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic said on Thursday.
Russia will host Poland in the semi-finals of their World Cup final on March 24 and, if the team progresses, it is planned to host either Sweden or the Czech Republic on March 29 in the Path B final. “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,” they said in a joint statement https://twitter.com/pzpn_pl / status / 1496872666061754368.
“The military escalation that we are observing has serious consequences and significantly lower security for our national football teams and official delegations,” they added. The federations said they expected world football’s governing body FIFA and European body UEFA to react immediately and come up with alternative arenas.
FIFA said they would monitor the situation and communicate updates on the qualifiers in due course. “FIFA condemns Russia’s use of force in Ukraine and all forms of violence to resolve conflicts. Violence is never a solution and FIFA calls on all parties to restore peace through constructive dialogue,” the statement said.
SvFF’s chairman Karl-Erik Nilsson told Reuters on Thursday that it was “almost unthinkable to play a World Cup play-off match in Russia”. “As it looks here and now, today, there is absolutely no desire to play a football match in Russia,” he said.
Russia will also lose the Champions League final this year with UEFA calling for an extra meeting with the executive committee on Friday to move the match from St Petersburg.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)