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Ukraine-Russia crisis

Poland, Sweden & Czech Republic call for Russia to be stripped of World Cup qualifying hosting duties

18:37 GMT 24/02/2022
Gazprom Arena St Petersburg Russia
The three nations have released a joint-statement in the wake of President Vladimir Putin's decision to send troops into Ukraine

Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic have called for Russia to be stripped of their 2022 World Cup qualifying hosting duties amid the country's ongoing conflict with Ukraine.

As it stands, Russia are due to play host to Poland in the World Cup playoff semi-finals on March 24.

Should they emerge victorious, they would then be scheduled to play at home again in the Path B final against either Sweden or the Czech Republic, but all three countries are now pushing for a change in venue.

What's been said?

Serious safety concerns have been raised in the wake of Russia's large-scale invasion of Ukraine, with President Vladimir Putin having ordered troops into two rebel-held regions of their neighbouring country.

Reports of explosions across Ukraine were widespread on Thursday, and Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic have responded by insisting that Russia should not be allowed to stage any football matches while the situation develops.

"The Football Associations of Poland (PZPN), Sweden (SvFF) and Czech Republic (FACR) express their firm position that the playoff matches... should not be played in the territory of the Russian Federation," a joint statement from the three nations reads.

"The military escalation that we are observing entails serious consequences and considerably lower safety for our national football teams and official delegations."

UEFA to take Champions League final from Russia

Russia are already set to be stripped of their hosting right for the 2021-22 Champions League final, which was originally due to take place in St Petersburg on May 28.

GOAL has confirmed that UEFA have taken the decision to move the showpiece event amid the escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine, with an official announcement expected on Friday.

European football's main governing body has said in a statement: "Following the evolution of the situation between Russia and Ukraine in the last 24 hours, the UEFA President has decided to call an extraordinary meeting of the Executive Committee for Friday 25 February at 10:00 CET, in order to evaluate the situation and take all necessary decisions.

"Further communication will be made after the meeting of the UEFA Executive Committee."

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