Munich striker Robert Lewandowski on Saturday backed Poland’s decision to not
play the upcoming World Cup play-off match against Russia amid the country’s
invasion of Ukraine, saying “we can’t pretend that nothing is happening”.
“It is the
right decision!” Lewandowski said in a tweet.
“I can’t imagine playing
a match with the Russian National Team in a situation when armed aggression in
Ukraine continues. Russian footballers
and fans are not responsible for this, but we can’t pretend that nothing is
scheduled to host Poland in Moscow on March 24, with Ukraine travelling to
Scotland the same day, but Polish football association chief Cezary Kulesza
said the side “does not intend” to play.
“Due to the escalation of the aggression of the Russian Federation towards
Ukraine, the Polish national team does not intend to play the play-off match
against Russia,” Kulesza said in a tweet.
other players of the Polish squad – including Leeds United Midfielder Mateusz
Klich and Southampton defender Jan Bednarek – also issued a statement on social
media, saying “it is not an easy decision, but there are more important things
in life than football”.
also highlighted the plight of their teammate Tomasz Kedziora, the Dynamo Kyiv defender
who is in the Ukraininan capital.
also in the play-offs and are due to face Czech Republic. The winner of that
tie could face Russia for a berth in the World Cup finals, due to be held in Qatar
said it would monitor the situation after Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic
issued a joint statement, appealing for the World Cup play-off matches not to
be held in Russia.
been losing high profile sporting events in the wake of their invasion of
Ukraine, with UEFA relocating the Champions League final – which was scheduled
to be played at the Gazprom Arena in Saint Petersburg – while the FIA cancelled this
year’s Russian Grand Prix.