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Football: Poland maintains boycott of Russia match over Ukraine

28.02.2022 08:30
Poland’s football governing body PZPN says the country will not play Russia in a World Cup playoff match next month in protest at Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. 
Cezary Kulesza, the head of the Polish Football Association (PZPN).
Cezary Kulesza, the head of the Polish Football Association (PZPN).PAP/Leszek Szymański

Poland was due to face Russia in Moscow on March 24 in the first round of playoffs for this year’s World Cup in Qatar.

On Saturday, the PZPN and the Polish players said they would boycott the match due to Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

On Sunday, the world’s football governing body FIFA announced Russia would be allowed to continue its bid to qualify for the World Cup, under certain conditions, Poland's PAP news agency reported.

The game with Poland would have to be played at a neutral venue and with no spectators. Moreover, Russia would be forced to go by the name “Football Union of Russia (RFU),” no Russian flag would be flown, and Russia's national anthem would not be played, the Polish state news agency reported.

Poland rejects FIFA’s decision 

In response to FIFA’s move, the PZPN late on Sunday issued a statement maintaining its boycott of the Russia match.

The statement said: “In view of the Russian Federation’s brutal aggression against Ukraine and the ongoing war there, the PZPN sees no possibility of competing with the Russian national team in the Qatar 2022 World Cup playoffs regardless of the name of the team made up of Russian players and where the game would be played.”

The Polish federation’s head, Cezary Kulesza, added that it would be “disgraceful” to play the match. He called on FIFA to "follow its human rights policy" and expel Russia from the World Cup, PAP reported. 

Kulesza later wrote on Twitter that FIFA’s decision was “totally unacceptable,” saying: “Our position remains unchanged: the Polish national team will NOT PLAY Russia, no matter what the name of the team is.”

The winner of the Russia-Poland game was scheduled to play either Sweden or the Czech Republic for a place in Qatar. 

On Thursday, Poland, Sweden, and the Czech Republic urged FIFA to move the play-off games from Russia to a different location.  


Source: PAP