Ukraine disaster: Poland to boycott World Cup play-off in opposition to Russia



Robert Lewandowski
Robert Lewandowski is Poland’s captain and report goalscorer

Poland will boycott their World Cup play-off in opposition to Russia due to the invasion of Ukraine, with captain Robert Lewandowski saying “we won’t faux that nothing is going on”.

Polish soccer affiliation president Cezary Kulesza has mentioned the staff “doesn’t intend” to play the sport.

Russia are attributable to host Poland in Moscow on 24 March, whereas Ukraine journey to Scotland on the identical day.

“The best resolution,” tweetedexternal-link Lewandowski.

On Thursday, Fifa mentioned it will monitor the scenario after Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic mentioned in a joint assertion that play-off matches shouldn’t be performed in Russia.

“No extra phrases, time to behave,” tweeted Kulesza on Saturday.

The winner of the play-off tie between Sweden and the Czech Republic may meet Russia for a spot on the World Cup finals, which get below method in Qatar in November.

Sweden have joined Poland in saying they won’t play in opposition to Russia no matter the place the match is performed due to the “unlawful and deeply unjust invasion of Ukraine”.

The nation’s soccer affiliation additionally urged Fifa to cancel the play-off matches involving Russia.

The Scottish FA is in talks with Uefa over the house World Cup play-off semi-final in opposition to Ukraine and the deliberate girls’s World Cup qualifier in Kyiv in April.

In the meantime, former world heavyweight boxer Wladimir Klitschko, whose older brother Vitali is now mayor of Kyiv, urged individuals the world over to assist Ukraine to “cease Russian aggression”.

“I am addressing the whole world to cease this struggle which Russia has began. There isn’t a time to attend as a result of it’ll bleed right into a humanitarian disaster,” he mentioned.

“You have to act now. An hour or by tomorrow shall be too late. Please get into motion now, do not wait. Cease this struggle.”

How else has sport responded to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine?

Many sports activities governing our bodies, golf equipment and gamers have reacted to the Russian invasion of Ukraine by cancelling or suspending occasions attributable to be held within the area.

  • The 2022 Champions League remaining shall be performed in Paris after Uefa – European soccer’s governing physique – moved the match away from St Petersburg
  • Uefa additionally ordered Russian and Ukrainian golf equipment and nationwide groups to play their residence matches away from the area “till additional discover”
  • Uefa is seeking to finish its main £30m-a-year sponsorship cope with Russian state-run gasoline big Gazprom
  • Russia’s Formulation 1 Grand Prix, attributable to happen in Sochi in September, has been cancelled
  • Worldwide sports activities federations have been urged to maneuver or cancel occasions presently deliberate in Russia or Belarus by the Worldwide Olympic Committee
  • The Worldwide Basketball Federation (FIBA) has postponed World Cup 2023 qualifiers involving Netherlands v Russia on 27 February and Nice Britain v Belarus on 28 February
  • Manchester United have terminated their sponsorship deal with Russia’s nationwide airline Aeroflot
  • On Thursday, soccer golf equipment, gamers and followers confirmed their assist for Ukraine with anti-war T-shirts and banners

‘My conscience will not let me play’ – what else did the Poland gamers say?

Bayern Munich striker Lewandowski, 33, who’s his nation’s all-time highest goalscorer, mentioned: “I am unable to think about enjoying a match with the Russian nationwide staff in a scenario when armed aggression in Ukraine continues. Russian footballers and followers aren’t chargeable for this, however we won’t faux that nothing is going on.”

Polish FA president Kulesza added: “As a result of escalation of the aggression of the Russian Federation in direction of Ukraine, the Polish nationwide staff doesn’t intend to play the play-off match in opposition to Russia.

“That is the one proper resolution. We’re in talks with the Sweden and Czech Republic to current a typical place to Fifa.”

Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, who performs for Italian champions Juventus, mentioned his “conscience” wouldn’t let him play.

“I refuse to face on the pitch, carrying the colors of my nation and hearken to the nationwide anthem of Russia,” wrote the 31-year-old former Arsenal participant, whose spouse was born in Ukraine.

“I refuse to participate in a sporting occasion that legitimises the actions of the Russian authorities.”

Wojciech Szczesny

Different members of the Poland squad, together with Leeds United midfielder Mateusz Klich, Southampton defender Jan Bednarek and Aston Villa defender Matty Money posted messages on social media which outlined their place.

“It isn’t a simple resolution however there are extra essential issues than soccer,” learn the collective assertion.

The Poland gamers additionally highlighted the case of team-mate Tomasz Kedziora, who performs for Ukrainian membership Dynamo Kyiv and continues to be within the Ukrainian capital.

BBC Sport has realized that the UK authorities plans to conduct conferences with UK sports activities our bodies early subsequent week to discover what else might be executed to accentuate Russia’s sporting isolation.

Ministers have already welcomed Uefa’s resolution to strip St Petersburg of the Champions League remaining.

Now they’re prone to ask the FA to carry talks with different nations’ soccer associations to see if extra will be executed to place strain on Fifa to expel Russia from World Cup qualifying.

In the meantime, the Worldwide Paralympic Committee will maintain an govt board assembly on Wednesday when the disaster shall be mentioned.

At this stage it’s understood IPC bosses imagine their guidelines don’t enable for Russia to be excluded, and that any such transfer can be efficiently challenged by Russia in courtroom. However additional talks are set to happen on the assembly subsequent week.

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