Poland have announced that they will not be playing Russia in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers. The armed invasion of Ukraine carried out by Russia has forced the Polish FA to make the decision to refrain from the match.
UEFA were going to kick out Russia from the qualifiers, but stopped short of the decision at the final stages. But, they might have to come to the same decision since their opponents in the qualifiers have decided to not travel to the country.
Poland abandoning World Cup qualifiers against Russia
Here is what Polish FA president Cezary Kulesza had to say about the issue:
‘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.
‘This is the only right decision. We are in talks with the Swedish and Czech Republic federations to present a common position to FIFA.’
Bayern Munich striker and Poland captain Robert Lewandowski agreed to the decision, saying:
‘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 footballers and fans are not responsible for this, but we can’t pretend that nothing is happening.’
Poland have asked the authorities to suggest alternative measures to deal with the issue. This can include a neutral venue, which would prevent them from travelling to the country. UEFA are yet to respond to the Polish FA’s decision.