UPDATE: Poland, Sweden, and Czechia have announced they will not play Russia in upcoming World Cup qualifiers. Following the FIFA announcement, the head of the Polish Football Association said it was not enough.
Today’s FIFA decision is totally unacceptable. We are not interested in participating in this game of appearances. Our stance remains intact: Polish National Team will NOT PLAY with Russia, no matter what the name of the team is.— Cezary Kulesza (@Czarek_Kulesza) February 27, 2022
FIFA has stopped short of removing Russia from 2022 World Cup qualifying matches as part of its response to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. The governing body has adopted the following measures per its release.
- Russia will not host international matches. Any “home” international match involving the Russian team will be played on a neutral venue with no spectators.
- The team will compete as RFU, or Football Union of Russia, rather than “Russia”.
- The country’s anthem will not be played ahead of matches involving RFU.
The second measure is straight out fo the International Olympic Committee playbook, which FIFA’s statement actually cites. These measures seem designed to take away the “Russia” name and attempt to remove the identity of the country in international competitions. We’ll see if that has any impact on the conflict in Ukraine.
Russia currently sits second in its group for World Cup qualifiers. We’ll see if FIFA goes ahead and removes the team from those competitions if the war in Ukraine continues.