Czech FA refuses to play World Cup qualifier with Russia

Demonstrators hold placards during an anti-war protest, after Russia launched a massive military operation against Ukraine, in Berlin, Germany, February 27, 2022. REUTERS

The Czech Republic will not play a potential soccer World Cup qualifier against Russia following their invasion of Ukraine, the Czech FA said on Sunday.

The Czech ruling body is the latest to pull out of the playoff matches after Poland and Sweden announced on Saturday they would not contest the qualifiers in March to decide who will go to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

"The FA executive committee approved unanimously the decision that the Czech national team will under no circumstances play the possible game against Russia's team in the 2022 World Cup qualification," the Czech FA said.

"The executive committee tasked FA chairman Petr Fousek and secretary general Michal Valter to talk to UEFA and FIFA in regards to the decision of the executive committee not to play the possible game against Russia."

Russia are scheduled to host Poland in the semi-finals of their strand of the World Cup playoffs on March 24 and, if they advance, to host either Sweden or the Czech Republic on March 29 in the Path B final.

The Czech FA said it would not play the match even if it was moved to a neutral venue, and called for the invasion to end as soon as possible.

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