Russia booted from 2022 World Cup qualifiers as Poland get bye to play-off final
FIFA has also announced that Ukraine’s match against Scotland has been postponed.
Russia have been booted from the 2022 World Cup qualifying play-off, which allows scheduled opponent Poland to automatically advance to the Path B final, where they will play either Sweden or Czech Republic.
The action comes in response to Russia’s recent military invasion of Ukraine, which has been condemed around Europe and led Poland to say they would refuse to play Russia.
Also related to the invasion, Ukraine’s play-off with Scotland has been postponed until June.
How else have Russia been punished?
Russia have been banned indefinitely from international competition, and their clubs are not allowed to participate in UEFA events.
That second outcome meant Spartak Moscow were kicked out of the Europa League knockout stage.
“Football is fully united here and in full solidarity with all the people affected in Ukraine,” wrote FIFA and UEFA in a statement late last month. “Both Presidents hope that the situation in Ukraine will improve significantly and rapidly so that football can again be a vector for unity and peace amongst people.”
Additionally, Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich has said he would sell Chelsea amid scrutiny over his ties to President Vladimir Putin.
Why has Ukraine’s play-off been postponed?
“The Ukrainian Association of Football wrote to FIFA requesting that its qualification match(es) be rescheduled owing to the impossibility of organising both the travel and training of a team under the current circumstances,” said FIFA in a statement.
“Following consultation with UEFA and the four participating member associations in Path A of the European qualifying play-offs, it was unanimously agreed in the spirit of solidarity to accept this request. The match between Scotland and Ukraine, initially scheduled for 24 March 2022, will now be postponed to the existing June window, and consequently, the match between the winners of Scotland vs Ukraine and Wales vs Austria will also be postponed to the same window.”