Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic have announced that they do not intend to send their national teams to Russia for the World Cup finals due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
The Football Association of the three countries requested, via a joint statement released on Thursday, that Fifa and Uefa would come to an alternative place for the matches.
Russia’s World Cup finals
Russia will host Poland in the World Cup finals on March 24, and the winners of that match will face either Sweden or the Czech Republic to secure a place in this year’s World Cup.
But Poland, and Russia’s two subsequent potential opponents, have made it clear that they do not intend to travel to Moscow when the safety of the players and backroom staff cannot be guaranteed.
A joint statement from the three national teams reads: “Based on the current alarming developments in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, including the security situation, the football associations of Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic express their firm position to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. scheduled for March 24 and 29, 2022, should not be played in the territory of the Russian Federation.
“The signatories of this appeal are not considering traveling to Russia and playing football matches there.
“The military escalation that we are observing has serious consequences and significantly lower security for our national football teams and official delegations.
“Therefore, we expect Fifa and Uefa to react immediately and present alternative solutions regarding places where these approaching finals can take place.”
Russia received international condemnation on Thursday morning when President Vladimir Putin declared war on Ukraine and launched a full-scale invasion.
Attacks on a number of Ukrainian cities took place throughout Thursday, with political leaders around the world criticizing Russia’s actions and promising severe sanctions.
From a sporting perspective, the Champions League final is expected to be moved from St Petersburg in the wake of Russia’s attack on Ukraine, where Uefa is calling for an emergency meeting on Friday morning.
The German football club Schalke has also announced that they will remove the logo of Gazprom, Russia’s state energy giant, from their jerseys.
On Thursday, Sebastian Vettel also saw the boycott of Russia’s Grand Prix, while a number of Ukrainian sports stars such as Oleksandr Zinchenko, Andriy Shevchenko and the Klitschko brothers united in condemning Russia’s actions.