Association sport

Football Association of Wales says Wales teams will not play Russia

The Football Association of Wales has announced that its teams will refuse to play against Russia.

Earlier on Sunday, the Football Federation of England announced that it would not play Russia in any international match “for the foreseeable future” following the invasion of Ukraine.

Responding to the FA’s announcement, Welsh deputy sport minister Dawn Bowden said world football’s governing body FIFA should make a decision on Russia’s involvement rather than individual associations having to judge the matter for themselves.

FIFA, however, tried to reach a compromise announcing that Russia must play international matches in neutral countries without fans.

The country will also have to play under the name ‘Football Union of Russia’ and not as ‘Russia’ under new measures issued in response to the Ukraine crisis.

FIFA has also ruled that no Russian national flag or anthem can be used and said it may take further action, including “potential exclusion from competitions…if the situation does not improve soon.” “.

However, this proved not to be enough for a number of football associations, including the FAW.

Just after 10 p.m., FAW announced that they would not play against Russia.

A statement read: “The Football Association of Wales (FAW) stands in solidarity with Ukraine and feels extreme sadness and shock at recent developments in the country.

“FAW expresses its condemnation for the use of force and atrocities committed by Russia during its invasion of Ukraine.

“FAW has decided that Cymru will not play any international matches against Russia for the foreseeable future, at any level of the game.”

The decision was posted on FAW’s social media pages and she displayed her motto “Together Stronger” in Welsh and English and the Ukrainian translation, “Stronger Together” above her statement.

FAW’s stance was praised by Bowden, who called Fifa’s statement “pathetic and mealy”. She shared the FAW tweet and simply posted “Da Iawn” (very good).

FIFA normally takes a dim view of countries where there is political interference in the functioning of football and can, and has, imposed sanctions on national associations if political interference is suspected.

Wales could take part in a World Cup qualifier against Ukraine in Cardiff at the end of March.

This game would hinge on Wales winning the playoff semi-final against Austria and Ukraine beating Scotland in Glasgow.

The World Cup will take place in Qatar and Amnesty International has called on Qatar to reform its highly restrictive kafala labor system, which continues to tie migrant workers to their employers.

The rights body said it still had concerns despite some legislative changes and said the country needed to better protect migrant workers.

Amnesty’s 2021 Qatar Human Rights Report states: “New laws have been passed providing migrant workers with greater legal protection. Despite government measures to control the spread of COVID-19, migrant workers have borne the brunt of the impact of the pandemic.

“Authorities further tightened restrictions on freedom of expression. Women continued to face discrimination in law and in practice. Executions resumed after a 20-year hiatus.”

Russia are due to host Poland in the World Cup play-offs on March 24 and, if they win, will host Sweden or the Czech Republic five days later.

The Polish and Swedish associations have already said they disagree with FIFA’s decision. They and the Czech association had previously said they would not play against Russia.

In response to FIFA’s decision, Swedish FA president Karl-Erik Nilsson told Fotbollskanalen: “Our opinion is no different today and the situation has not changed in Ukraine just because we have received the message from FIFA, so we have no other opinion today.

“We also want to talk to Poland and the Czech Republic so that we can give back to FIFA what we think, but we expected a clearer position from FIFA. We would have done that.

Wales have not scheduled games against Russia at senior level, but the women’s team took part in the Pinatar Cup last week, which Russia also took part in, but the two teams were not drawn by lot.

  • This article originally appeared on our partner site The National. Additional reports: AP