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Russia's 2022 Qatar World Cup qualifying opponents unite to DEMAND play-offs are moved

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Russia’s 2022 Qatar World Cup qualifying play-off opponents unite to DEMAND that next month’s fixtures are moved from Moscow following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine

  • Russia invaded Ukraine on Thursday to widespread condemnation 
  • World Cup play-off opponents have demanded fixtures are moved from Moscow
  • Russia host Poland in the semi-final on March 24, before potential final on 29th 


The Football Assocations of Poland, Sweden and Czech Republic have demanded that next month’s World Cup qualifying play-offs be moved from Russia in the wake of their invasion of Ukraine.

Russian president Vladimir Putin declared war on Ukraine on Thursday morning, swiftly launching strikes all over the country to the condemnation of the international community.

Russia are due to host Poland in Moscow on March 24 in a play-off semi-final, before the winner faces Sweden or Czech Republic for a place in Qatar five days later. If Russia beat Poland then the final will also be played at Moscow’s VTB Arena.

But in a statement released on Thursday afternoon, the other three nations in UEFA’s ‘Path B’ route of the revamped qualifying system have demanded the fixtures be moved. 

Russia were forced through the play-off route after losing to Croatia in November (pictured)

Russia were forced through the play-off route after losing to Croatia in November (pictured)

A Ukrainian military facility outside Mariupol is bombed as part of Russian air strikes

A Ukrainian military facility outside Mariupol is bombed as part of Russian air strikes

The statement reads: ‘Based on the current alarming development in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine including the security situation the Football Associations of Poland, Sweden and Czech Republic express their firm position that the playoff matches to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, scheduled for 24 and 29 March 2022, should not be played in the territory of the Russian Federation. 

‘The signatories of this appeal do not consider travelling to Russia and playing matches there. The military escalation that we are observing entails serious consequences and considerably lower safety for our national football teams and official delegations. 

Moscow's VTB Arena is due to host the World Cup play-off semi-final and a possible final

Moscow’s VTB Arena is due to host the World Cup play-off semi-final and a possible final

‘Therefore, we expect FIFA and UEFA to react immediately and to present alternative solutions regarding places where these approaching playoff matches could be played.’

Russia, who hosted the last World Cup in 2018, finished second in their UEFA qualifying group behind Croatia and were seeded for the play-off draw. 

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