Poland and Sweden pile pressure on Fifa to expel Russia from World Cup
Poland’s football association has criticised Fifa for allowing Russia to carry on competing at international level, calling the stance “totally unacceptable”.
On Sunday Fifa issued a list of sanctions against Russia following the state’s invasion of Ukraine, including that they must compete as the Football Union of Russia on neutral territory and without an anthem or flag.
But Poland, who are due to face the Russians in a World Cup play-off next month, swiftly decried the measures as insufficient and reiterated their refusal to play the match.
“Today’s Fifa decision is totally unacceptable,” said Polish football’s president Cezary Kulesza.
“We are not interested in participating in this game of appearances. Our stance remains intact: Polish national team will not play with Russia, no matter what the name of the team is.”
It puts Fifa under mounting pressure to expel Russia from qualification for the World Cup, which is due to take place later this year in Qatar.
Sweden’s football association, who could also be drawn against the Football Union of Russia in the World Cup play-offs, echoed Poland’s dissatisfaction at Fifa.
President Karl-Erik Nilsson said: “Our opinion is not different today and the situation has not changed in Ukraine just because we have received the message from Fifa, so we have no other opinion today.
“We also want to talk to Poland and the Czech Republic so that we can give back to Fifa what we think, but we had expected a sharper stance from Fifa. We would have done so.”
The Czech Republic said at the weekend that they would refuse to play Russia in the World Cup play-offs due to take place in late March.
England are among a number of national associations to declare that they will refuse to face Russia at any level of football owing to their aggression in Ukraine.
Fifa said on Sunday: “First and foremost, Fifa would like to reiterate its condemnation of the use of force by Russia in its invasion of Ukraine. Violence is never a solution and Fifa expresses its deepest solidarity to all people affected by what is happening in Ukraine.
“Fifa calls again for the urgent restoration of peace and for constructive dialogue to commence immediately. Fifa remains in close contact with the Ukrainian Association of Football and members of the Ukrainian football community who have been requesting support to leave the country for as long as the current conflict persists.”