Polish football association demands Russia's expulsion from World Cup
The Football Association of Poland (PZPN) has demanded Russia's exclusion from this year's World Cup in Qatar owing to the invasion of Ukraine.
In a statement published on its website, the PZPN described Russia's attack as "brutal aggression," and stated that the Polish national team felt compelled to withdraw from playing Russia in a World Cup qualifying game that had been scheduled to take place on March 24.
"The Polish Football Association inform that as a result of the brutal aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine and the war that continues there, we do not see any possibility of competing with the Russian national team in play-off matches for promotion to the World Cup in Qatar in 2022 regardless of the name of the team consisting of Russian footballers and the place of the match," the PZPN wrote.
The statement was a response to FIFA saying that Russia will be allowed to participate in international football events, but only on neutral ground and without spectators. The Russians will also not be able to use their national flag nor play the Russian national anthem.
The PZPN also appealed to FIFA for the "immediate" exclusion of Russia from the tournament.
"... we call on the FIFA authorities to react immediately to the brutal violence that we observe daily on the territory of independent Ukraine. If FIFA’s Human Rights Policy is more than just words on paper, now is the time to put it into practice by excluding the Russian Football Association from the qualifiers for the World Cup in Qatar in 2022.
According to a Polish deputy foreign minister, FIFA's sanctions on Russia are too mild, and showed that the organisation "was blind and deaf to reality."
Later on Monday, FIFA and UEFA suspended Russia's national and club teams from all competitions until further notice due to the country's invasion of Ukraine.
The decision opened the way for FIFA to exclude Russia from the World Cup ahead of qualifying playoff on March 24.
Russia invaded Ukraine from three directions on Thursday, but the Kremlin's plans for a rapid conquest and replacement of the Ukrainian government with a puppet regime has failed, with Russian forces encountering fierce Ukrainian resistance.