FIFA has ordered Russia to play matches without its flag and anthem at neutral venues, warning that the country could be excluded from competitions if the situation in Ukraine does not improve.
Sunday’s announcements, which FIFA called “immediate first steps,” were quickly criticized as insufficient by European nations, however.
FIFA, which condemned “the use of force by Russia in its invasion of Ukraine,” said no international soccer matches would be played in Russia, and the country’s flag and anthem would be banned from all their foreign matches.
The world governing body said the national team would not compete as Russia but as the Russian Football Union (RFU), and that all “home” matches would be played without fans on “neutral territory.”
But the head of the Polish Football Association, Cezary Kulesza, criticized FIFA’s position and called for Russia’s expulsion from the World Cup.
“Today’s decision by FIFA is totally unacceptable. We are not interested in participating in this game of appearances. Our position remains intact: the Polish national team will not play with Russia, regardless of the name of the team,” 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 effect, by excluding the Russian Football Association from qualifying for the World Cup in Qatar in 2022,” he added in a statement.
If Russia wins, it would then host the winners of a match between the Czech Republic and Sweden on March 29.
The draw for the World Cup finals, which will be held in Qatar in November and December, is set for April 1.
The Czech Republic and Sweden have also said they will not play the Russians.
The president of the Swedish federation Karl-Erik Nilsson, senior vice president of UEFA, told the website Fotbollskanalen that he was not satisfied with the decision of FIFA with a “clearer position” expected.
The Czechs said FIFA’s compromise did not change their decision not to play Russia.
FIFA said it would try to find a solution with the three countries involved in the World Cup qualifiers.
“[FIFA] is already in dialogue with all these soccer associations. FIFA will remain in close contact to seek appropriate and acceptable solutions together,” the statement said.
The English Football Association also said its national team would not play any matches against Russia “for the foreseeable future.”
“In solidarity with Ukraine and in unreserved condemnation of the atrocities committed by the Russian leadership, the FA can confirm that we will not play Russia in any international match for the foreseeable future. This includes any potential match at any level.