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Poland announce they will refuse to play against Russia in next month’s World Cup play-offs over invasion of Ukraine


Poland have announced they do not intend to play their World Cup play-off match next month against Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.

UEFA took one match away from Russia following the invasion but refused to kick them out of qualifying for the World Cup. That means Russia are still included alongside Sweden, the Czech Republic, and Poland in Path B of the European play-offs, with the latter scheduled to take on the former on 24 March in Moscow.

Should Russia beat Poland, they would meet the winner of Sweden v Czech Republic in a one-off final to qualify for the Qatar showpiece. However, Polish FA president Cezary Kulesza has tweeted his side no longer plan on taking part in the first place.

‘No more words, time to act!’ Kulesza said. ‘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.’

The news comes just a day after the three federations of Poland, Sweden, and the Czech Republic released a joint statement demanding clarity on the situation in Ukraine, with ‘alternative solutions’ offered immediately.

‘Based on the current alarming development in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, including the security situation the Football Associations of Poland, Sweden, and Czech Republic express their firm position that the playoff matches to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, scheduled for 24 and 29 March 2002, should not be played in the territory of the Russian Federation,’ a statement read.

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