Saturday, February 26, 2022

Suspend Russia

Football is not important, but football can take a stand, and that is what Poland's football players have taken in terms of deciding to boycott their World Cup qualifier against Russia in March. In case Russia is awarded the match, they will face Sweden or the Czech Republic, and Sweden have already also announced that they would not face Russia either.

Potentially, this could qualify Russia directly to the World Cup. And why is that? It is because FIFA has taken no stand as to what to do, and knowing FIFA's lack of courage in these situations, one has to assume that Russia is on its way to Qatar until a clear stand is taken.

Some would argue that football and politics should not be mixed and that the Russian players and fans should not be punished for what is happening. 

Russian players and fans are great; I can say it from experience, from the fantastic time and people I met in Russia in 2018 during the World Cup. But football and politics are intrinsically linked, because football is part of wider society, and cannot be separated from its problems. Russia's government must be isolated for its blatant and aggressive invasion of Ukraine, and although football is just a small thing, Russia must be suspended.

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