QATAR WORLD CUP
Which countries are boycotting soccer World Cup games against Russia?
The Czech Republic joined Poland and Sweden in refusing to play potential soccer World Cup playoff matches against Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.
The Czech Republic will not play a potential soccer World Cup playoff match against Russia as a consequence of its invasion of Ukraine, according to the Czech Football Association.
The Czech FA follows the pronouncements of the Polish FA and the Swedish FA that they will not participate in any matches against Russia.
“The FA executive committee approved unanimously the decision that the Czech national team will under no circumstances play the possible game against Russia’s team in the 2022 World Cup qualification,” according to the Czech FA.
Poland was set to fly to Russia for their World Cup qualifying match on March 24. A win by Russia would have advanced them to a match against either Sweden or the Czech Republic on March 29.
Poland gets the ball rolling
Cezary Kulesza, president of Poland’s Football Association, earlier said “In light of the escalation of the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine, the Polish national team is not going to play a match against Russian Republic.”
Swedish Football Association head Karl-Erik Nilsson soon followed suit. “The illegal and deeply unjust invasion of Ukraine currently makes all football exchanges with Russia impossible. We therefore urge FIFA to decide that the playoff matches in March in which Russia participates will be cancelled. But regardless of what FIFA chooses to do, we will not play against Russia in March,” Nilsson said.
The French Football Federation has expressed its support for the actions of the three countries. Federation president Noel Le Graet said, "In these dramatic circumstances, how can one envisage playing football against this country?"
Appeal to FIFA to relocate Russian games
The Polish, Swedish, and Czech groups had written a letter to FIFA last week to ask for the games to be transferred to another venue.
“Based on the current alarming development in the conflict between Russian Ukraine including the security situation, the Football Associations of Poland, Sweden, and Czech Republic express the firm position that the play-off matches to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, scheduled for 24 and 29 March 2022, should not be played in the territory of the Russian Federation."
In their latest statement, the Czech FA said it would not play a match with Russia, even if it were transferred to another location.
Although FIFA has not taken any action against Russia, the country's attack on Ukraine has already caused repercussions all around the world of sports.