Poland takes a stance and refuses to play against Russia
Poland who are scheduled to play against Russia in the World Cup qualifier Play-off have stated that they refuse to play against Russia.
“No more words, 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. We are in talks with Sweden and Czech Republic federations to bring forward a joint statement to FIFA” – tweeted Polish Football Association President Cezary Kulesza on Saturday.
Players also wrote “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 thought are with the Ukrainian nation and our friend from the national team, Tomasz Kedziora, who is still in Kiev with his family.”
Robert Lewandowski further added “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 footballer and fans are not responsible for this, but we can’t pretend that nothing is happening.”
The decision by the Polish national team comes after UEFA held back from making a firm decision over the qualifier matches, merely deciding that matches involving Ukraine and Russia would be played on neutral venues, whilst condemning the violence.
Both FIFA and the International Olympic Committee, as well as other major international governing bodies are under pressure from across the global sporting community to suspend Russia from the international organisations following the invasion of Ukraine.