FIFA’s response on Russia as Czech Republic refuses to play them

Russia is running out of World Cup qualifying opponents fast, and FIFA’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is unlikely to change that.

A day after Poland and Sweden said they would refuse to play Russia in a qualifying playoff set to determine a spot in the World Cup, the Czech Republic — the fourth team in their qualifying bracket — joined them.

“The Czech FA executive committee, staff members and players of the national team agreed it’s not possible to play against the Russian national team in the current situation, not even on the neutral venue,” the Czech federation said in a statement. “We all want the war to end as soon as possible.”

They also said the decision not to play was unanimous.

FIFA took action Sunday that likely won’t change the minds of Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic. It said Russia will not host international competition and home games would be moved to neutral venues; the national team would be referred to as the “Football Union of Russia,” similar to the Russian Olympic Committee; and the Russian flag and national anthem is banned.
The Czech Republic’s men’s soccer team is refusing to play Russia in 2022 World Cup qualifying.

“FIFA will continue its ongoing dialogue with the IOC, UEFA and other sport organizations to determine any additional measures or sanctions, including a potential exclusion from competitions, that shall be applied in the near future should the situation not be improving rapidly,” FIFA said Sunday while again condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “The Bureau of the FIFA Council remains on standby to take any of these decisions.”

The sports world has been largely united in outcry against Russia following the country’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. UEFA moved the Champions League final from St. Petersburg to Paris. Formula 1 also canceled the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi.