Saturday, July 2, 2022

FIFA sidesteps decision on Russia hosting 2022 World Cup qualifiers

SoccerNews in World Cup 24 Feb 2022

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FIFA refused to make a snap decision on whether Russia will be allowed to host World Cup play-off matches in March but said it is “monitoring the situation”. 

Widespread condemnation followed Russia’s full-scale invasion of neighbouring Ukraine on Thursday.

Stats Perform understands that UEFA will confirm on Friday that St Petersburg will no longer host this season’s Champions League final. 

In a joint statement, Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic, who are in the same qualification pathway as Russia for this year’s World Cup, said they would not consider playing matches in the country. 

Russia are scheduled to take on Poland in Moscow on March 24. If they win, they will face Sweden or the Czech Republic at home five days later.

FIFA called for the “rapid cessation of hostilities and peace in Ukraine” but stopped short of confirming whether Russia’s hosting rights would be taken away.

“FIFA condemns the use of force by Russia in Ukraine and any type of violence to resolve conflicts,” the statement read. 

“Violence is never a solution and FIFA calls on all parties to restore peace through constructive dialogue. FIFA also continues to express its solidarity to the people affected by this conflict. 

“Regarding football matters in both Ukraine and Russia, FIFA will continue to monitor the situation and updates in relation to the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifiers will be communicated in due course.” 

Ukraine will also contest the 2022 World Cup play-offs, but the draw precludes them from playing at home. 

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