Men's National Team

Poland to Boycott Russia Play-off – Risking Forfeit

Poland are willing to forfiet just not to play against Russia / PZPN
Poland to Boycott Russia Play-off – Risking Forfeit

WARSAW, Poland. February 26 (PSN) – The PZPN (Polish Football Federation) has taken a stern stance ahead of their 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifying play-off match with Russia, which in turn heavily risks Poland in forfeiting from the competition as a whole.

PZPN President Cezary Kulesza on Saturday morning announced that the Poland national team would now refuse to take part in the upcoming play-off match against Russia, which is scheduled for March 24 and to be held in Moscow. This is of course the Polish federation’s reaction to the events currently happening in Ukraine, where the Russian Federation military invaded on Thursday.

“No more words, now is the time for action! Due to the escalation of aggression by the Russian Federation towards Ukraine, the Polish national team does not intend to play the play-off match with the Russian national team,” Kulesza wrote on Twitter.

Since Thursday, more and more Polish fans and journalists expected the PZPN to take such stance toward the play-off game with Russia and boycott it – no matter if it would see Russia earning a walkover win.

Despite initial push back against it, the PZPN has now agreed to follow through with the boycott.

“This is the only right decision. We are as well in talks with the Swedish and Czech federations to present a common position to FIFA.” Kulesza added.

On Friday, high-level PZPN members contacted the heads of the Swedish and Czech football federations to obtain confirmation that they, too, would also be ready to take the same stance with the play-off match against Rusia.

So far according to “Interia”, only Sweden have signalled their willingness to agree to this.

If, however, FIFA decides not to exclude Russia from the competition, then Poland will most definitely be punished with a forfeit and would lose their chance to play at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Nevertheless – this decision is said to have plenty of support by the players of the Polish national team, whom have sent numerous signals on Thursday that they do not want to play against Russia.

Poland national team captain Robert Lewandowski was the first player to pubically agree with the decision to boycott the play-off encounter with Russia.

“The right decision! I can’t imagine playing with Russia in a situation when armed aggression in Ukraine continues. Russian players and fans are not responsible for this, but we can’t pretend that nothing is happening.”

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