FIFA bans Russia from playing World Cup qualifiers under its national flag, anthem about invasion of Ukraine

FIFA has ordered Russia to play matches without its flag and anthem at neutral venues, warning the country could be banned from competitions unless the situation in Ukraine improves.

FIFA bans Russian flag, anthem from World Cup qualifiers over Ukraine invasion (Reuters Photo)

FIFA bans Russian flag, anthem from World Cup qualifiers over Ukraine invasion (Reuters Photo)

HIGHLIGHTS

  • FIFA bans the Russian flag, the anthem, from the World Cup qualifiers because of the invasion of Ukraine
  • FIFA’s immediate first action has been criticized by European nations as insufficient
  • FIFA condemned Russia’s use of force in its invasion of Ukraine

FIFA announced on Sunday that Russia must play World Cup qualifiers at neutral venues without its flag and anthem, warning that the country could be banned from competitions unless the situation in Ukraine improves.

However, the first emergency measures taken by FIFA were criticized by the European nations as insufficient. FIFA, which condemned Russia’s use of force in its invasion of Ukraine, said no international football matches will be played in Russia and the country’s flag and anthem will be banned at all of its matches abroad.

The world governing body said the national team will not compete as Russia but as the Russian Football Union (RFU) and all “home games” would be played on neutral territory without fans.

However, the head of the Polish Football Association, Cezary Kulesza, criticized FIFA’s stance and called for Russia’s ban from the World Cup.

“Today’s FIFA decision is completely unacceptable. We’re not interested in participating in this performance game. Our position remains unchanged: the Polish national team will not play against Russia, no matter what the name of the team is,” he wrote on Twitter.

“If FIFA’s human rights policy is more than just words on paper, now is the time to put it into action and ban the Russian Football Union from qualifying for the Qatar 2022 World Cup,” he added in the statement.

Poland plays in Moscow on March 24th. Should Russia prevail, they will host the winner of a match between the Czech Republic and Sweden on March 29.

The draw for the World Cup, which will be played in Qatar in November and December, is scheduled for April 1st. The Czech Republic and Sweden have also announced that they will not play Russia.

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