The national teams of Poland and Sweden said they will not play Russia in upcoming World Cup qualifying matches, citing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The schedule calls for Russia to face Poland and Sweden to meet the Czech Republic on March 24.
The winners of the two games will play on March 29 for a berth in the 2022 World Cup, to be held this fall in Qatar.
Cezary Kulesza, president of the Polish Football Association, posted the stance of his organization on Twitter on Saturday.
“This is the only right decision,” he wrote. “We are in talks with the Swedish and Czech association to present a common position to FIFA.”
The Swedish federation released a similar statement Saturday morning.
“The men’s national team will not play against Russia, regardless of where the match is played. The Federal Board also urges FIFA to cancel the play-off matches in March in which Russia participates,” the organization posted to Twitter.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino said on Thursday that with the first matches still one month off, there remained time for a decision.
“We are analysing the situation and we will take the decision when we have to take it,” he said.
The sporting world’s response to Russia’s march on neighbouring Ukraine has been swift otherwise.
The International Ski Federation cancelled six upcoming World Cup events throughout Russia scheduled through March 20, and Formula 1 called off the Russian Grand Prix slated for September 25.
The UEFA moved the Champions League final from St. Petersburg to Paris.
The International Olympic Committee also asked all international sports federations to cancel or move any events currently planned for Russia or Belarus.
In a statement issued on Friday, the IOC executive board said Russia violated the Olympic Truce with its early morning invasion of Ukraine on Thursday and that Belarus also was in violation by supporting the actions ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin.