The neighbouring nations are calling FIFA’s measures ‘inadequate,’ stressing more action needs to be taken.
Russia will no longer be allowed to raise its flag or play its national anthem during any of FIFA’s games abroad, including Qatar’s 2022 World Cup.
The country could also be potentially excluded from competitions if the situation in Ukraine does not improve, the governing body’s announcement has revealed, condemning the “use of force by Russia in its invasion of Ukraine.”
It also added that the national team will not be allowed to compete as Russia, but as football Union of Russia (RFU), and any ‘home’ games would be held with no fans on “neutral territory”.
However, what FIFA called “immediate first measures” were heavily criticised by European nations as ‘insufficient’ given the gravity of the political dispute. Instead, several European nations are calling FIFA to expel Russia from the World Cup. “The world of sport, and especially football, cannot remain neutral. I certainly would not oppose the expulsion of Russia,” said French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet told Le Parisien newspaper.
“In these dramatic circumstances, how can one envisage playing football against this country,” he added.
Echoing Le Graet’s stance, Polish Football Association chief Cezary Kulesza, also called on FIFA to ban Russia given the latest escalations in the region.
“Today’s FIFA decision is totally unacceptable. 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,” he wrote on Twitter.
“If FIFA’s Human Rights Policy is more than just words on paper, now is the time to put it into effect, excluding the Russian Football Association from qualifying for the Qatar World Cup in 2022,” he added.
Today’s FIFA decision is totally unacceptable. 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.
— Cezary Kulesza (@Czarek_Kulesza) February 27, 2022
The Swedish, Poland, and the Czech Republic national teams will not be playing Russia in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers next month in protest of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“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,” the president of the Polish Football Association, Cezary Kulesza, said on Saturday.
The official also added that it is the “only correct decision” following the latest escalations in recent days, which has led to hundreds of casualties from both sides.
Poland was meant to play in Moscow on 24th March with Russia, whilst its European rival, Ukraine, was scheduled to travel to face Scotland on the same day.
It is the right decision! I can’t imagine playing a match with the Russian National Team in a situation when armed aggression in Ukraine continues. Russian footballers and fans are not responsible for this, but we can’t pretend that nothing is happening. https://t.co/rfnfbXzdjF
— Robert Lewandowski (@lewy_official) February 26, 2022
If Russia would have defeated Poland, they would move on to face either Sweden or the Czech Republic on 29th March, in the Path B final.
No decision has yet been made regarding how the national team’s withdrawal from the qualifiers will affect the upcoming World Cup matches.
Typically, a withdrawal would mean the other team automatically qualifies, but given the political situation at hand, it remains unclear how FIFA will move forward.