World Cup Qualifiers: Czechs join Poland, Sweden in refusing to play Russia

The Czech football association’s executive committee said it “unanimously approved a decision that the Czech national team will not in any case play Russia.”

FIFA World Cup

The Czech Republic joined Poland and Sweden on Sunday in refusing to play Russia in the 2022 World Cup qualifying next month in response to that nation’s invasion of Ukraine. (Representative Image)   -  Getty Images

The Czech Republic joined Poland and Sweden on Sunday in refusing to play Russia in the 2022 World Cup qualifying next month in response to that nation’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Czech football association’s executive committee said it “unanimously approved a decision that the Czech national team will not in any case play Russia.”

The football federations of Poland and Sweden made the same decision on Saturday.

The Czech Republic is a potential opponent of Russia in next month’s playoffs. The winner of the Poland-Russia match is due to host Sweden or the Czech Republic on March 29 for a place at the World Cup being played in Qatar from Nov. 21-Dec. 18.

READ: Poland will not play World Cup match with Russia -Polish FA head

The executive committee asked Czech football federation head Petr Fousek to lead negotiations with UEFA and FIFA about the Czech position.

“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,” the federation said in a statement. “We all want the war to end as soon as possible.”

As the attack of Ukraine entered a fourth day on Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin temporarily lost his most senior official position in world sports. The International Judo Federation cited “the ongoing war conflict in Ukraine” for suspending Putin’s honorary president status.

The Russian president is a keen judoka and attended the sport at the 2012 London Olympics.

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