Russia’s Invasion Of Ukraine: Poland to boycott World Cup play-off against Russia

Poland will boycott their World Cup play-off against Russia because of the invasion of Ukraine, with captain Robert Lewandowski saying “we can’t pretend that nothing is happening”.

Polish football association president Cezary Kulesza has said the team “does not intend” to play the game.

Russia are due to host Poland in Moscow on 24 March, while Ukraine travel to Scotland on the same day.

“The right decision,” tweeted Lewandowski.

On Thursday, Fifa said it would monitor the situation after Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic said in a joint statement that play-off matches should not be played in Russia.

“No more words, time to act,” tweeted Kulesza on Saturday.

The winner of the play-off tie between Sweden and the Czech Republic could meet Russia for a place at the World Cup finals, which get under way in Qatar in November.

Sweden have joined Poland in saying they will not play against Russia regardless of where the match is played because of the “illegal and deeply unjust invasion of Ukraine”.

The country’s football association also urged Fifa to cancel the play-off matches involving Russia.

The Scottish FA is in talks with Uefa over the home World Cup play-off semi-final against Ukraine and the planned women’s World Cup qualifier in Kyiv in April.

Meanwhile, former world heavyweight boxer Wladimir Klitschko, whose older brother Vitali is now mayor of Kyiv, urged people across the world to help Ukraine to “stop Russian aggression”.

“I’m addressing the entire world to stop this war which Russia has started. There is no time to wait because it is going to bleed into a humanitarian catastrophe,” he said.

“You need to act now. An hour or by tomorrow will be too late. Please get into action now, don’t wait. Stop this war.”