WARSAW, Poland. March 8 (PSN) – It’s official – the Polish national team will play in the FIFA 2022 World Cup qualifying play-off finals!
Russia, who were suspended by FIFA some time ago will no longer be allowed to compete in the competition, with the final decision being made today on this matter.
The Polish Football Association (PZPN), together with the federations of Sweden and the Czech Republic, issued a joint statement last month in which they demanded FIFA intervention with Russia’s eligibility to qualify for the World Cup after the country’s aggression shown toward Ukraine.
FIFA initially proposed Poland to still play the Russians, but on neutral ground.
This in turn was met with protest by the Poles, who flat out refused to play against Russia – risking even forfeit due to principal. Later, the Swedes and the Czechs followed in their footsteps, which would then soon see other national teams in Europe do the same. As a result, FIFA had been pushed against the wall and were forced to change their mind.
While all the Russian national teams and clubs were temporarily suspended by FIFA and UEFA until further notice, there was still no confirmation regarding the Bialo-Czerwoni’s play-off qualifier with Russia, that was set to be played on March 24 in Moscow. The PZPN awaited for a final verdict from FIFA on the matter, such as whether they would have to play against proposed teams like Slovakia/Hungary/Norway in order to advance, or simply get a bye.
Reports afterwards started appearing about the match apparently being postponed to June, with FIFA under the belief that the war in Ukraine would be long over by then. However, as expected this did not go well with European football fans and media.
As such, FIFA on Tuesday officially decided to grant Poland a bye, allowing Czeslaw Michniewicz’s side to advance to the play-off final without needing to play a game. So then on March 29, they will play the winner between Sweden or the Czech Republic.
“We’re pleased with FIFA’s decision. Any other could not be taken. Fortunately, someone finally thought about it and joined our initiative. What the Russians are doing in Ukraine cannot be tolerated.” said PZPN president Cezary Kulesza on Tuesday’s decision by FIFA.
While everything may be clear for now, in theory it’s not entirely impossible that this could all still change. This is because Russia had sent a request on Monday to appeal FIFA’s decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), a decision that could potentially change everything if the court decides to end the case in favour of the former Soviet Union nation.
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