Robert Lewandowski backs Poland’s decision to boycott Russia World Cup play-off

Polish FA president Cezary Kulesza said on Twitter on Saturday that Poland will boycott the match in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
Robert Lewandowski backs Poland’s decision to boycott Russia World Cup play-off

By PA Sport Staff

Robert Lewandowski has backed the Polish Football Association’s decision to refuse to play Russia in their upcoming World Cup play-off.

The Poles were due to face Russia in Moscow on March 24th in a play-off semi-final for the World Cup in Qatar later this year.

Polish FA president Cezary Kulesza said on Twitter on Saturday that Poland will boycott the match in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Retweeting Kulesza’s post, striker Lewandowski wrote: “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.”

The match comes under Path B of European qualifying play-offs, with the winners due to play Sweden or the Czech Republic for a place in the tournament in Qatar.

Earlier this week the football federations of Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic issued a joint statement to say they did not intend to play in Russia and called on governing bodies FIFA and UEFA to offer “alternative solutions”.

 

Poland has now gone further to state that the country will not take the field against a Russian team.

The tweet from Kulesza read: “No more words, time to act! Due to the escalation of the aggression of the Russian Federation towards Ukraine, the Polish national team does not intend to play the play-off match against Russia.

“This is the only right decision. We are in talks with the federations of Sweden and the Czech Republic to bring forward a common position to FIFA.”

The PA news agency has contacted FIFA for comment.

FIFA, the world governing body, last issued a statement on the matter on Thursday when it said it will “continue to monitor the situation” and issue updates concerning the qualifiers “in due course”.

The statement added: “FIFA condemns the use of force by Russia in Ukraine and any type of violence to resolve conflicts.

“Violence is never a solution and FIFA calls on all parties to restore peace through constructive dialogue. FIFA also continues to express its solidarity to the people affected by this conflict.”

Since then Russia has started to be hit with sanctions from elsewhere, with UEFA stripping the country of this season’s Champions League final. The showpiece club match, due to be played in St Petersburg on May 28th, will now be held in Paris.

In Formula One, the Russian Grand Prix scheduled for September has been cancelled and the International Olympic Committee has urged sporting federations with other events planned for Russia or Belarus to do likewise.

Manchester United have also terminated a sponsorship agreement with Russian airline Aeroflot.

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