Poland, Sweden and Czech Republic issue joint statement against playing in Russia 4 months ago

Poland, Sweden and Czech Republic issue joint statement against playing in Russia

The three countries want 'immediate reaction'

The football federations of Poland, Czech Republic and Sweden have issued a formal statement to FIFA signalling their reluctance to play in Russia.

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The three nations are set to travel to Russia to play World Cup play-off matches next month, however, they have jointly told FIFA that they will refuse to travel over safety concerns.

It adds that the countries want "immediate" reaction from both FIFA and UEFA. Should Russia defeat Poland, they would face Sweden or Czech Republic in the next round of the play-offs.

Poland, Sweden and Czech Republic's statement comes after Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered his military forces to invade Ukraine on multiple fronts, with tanks moving across the border and 'hundreds' of Ukrainian troops reportedly dead.

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The full statement reads: "Based on the current alarming development in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine including the security situation the Football Associations of Poland (PZPN), Sweden (SvFF) and Czech Republic (FAÖR) 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 to this appeal do not consider travelling to Russia and playing football matches there. The military escalation that we are observing entails serious consequences and considerably lower safety for our national football teams and official delegations.

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

On Thursday (February 24), UEFA opted to strip Russia of this year's Champions League final, which was due to be held in St. Petersburg at the Gazprom Arena.

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