Czech Republic join Poland and Sweden in refusing to play Russia in World Cup play-off

The World Cup play-offs are scheduled to take place across March 24 and 29

Jamie Braidwood
Sunday 27 February 2022 14:02
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The Football Association of the Czech Republic has announced it will not play Russia for a place at the World Cup finals, should the two countries meet in a play-off next month.

They join Poland and Sweden in refusing to play against Russia following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Poland are scheduled to face Russia in the World Cup play-offs on March 24, with the winner playing either the Czech Republic or Sweden in the final.

A statement from the Czech Republic said: “The Czech FA executive committee, staff members and players of the national team agreed it’s not possible to play against the Russian national team in the current situation, not even on the neutral venue. We all want the war to end as soon as possible.”

It piles further pressure on Fifa to make a decision regarding Russia’s participation in the World Cup play-offs, with all of their possible opponents now refusing to play against them.

Fifa has not banned Russia from the qualification process, saying only that the Russian Federation would have to find alternative venues outside the country to host matches, but the Czech Republic, Poland and Sweden have now all said that they would refuse to play the country at all while the invasion of Ukraine continues.

It comes as the head of the French Football Federation said Russia should be thrown out of the World Cup play-offs.

Noel Le Graet, the president of the FFF, told Le Parisien newspaper: “The world of sport, and especially football, cannot remain neutral. I certainly would not oppose the expulsion of Russia.”

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