Sweden insists it won’t play against Russia

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The Swedish Football Federation (SvFF) reiterated on Monday it would not play against Russia in a possible World Cup play-off.

The federation added that it was “disappointed” by measures from the ruling body FIFA against Russia after its invasion of Ukraine.

Switzerland, Denmark and Norway meanwhile became the latest federations to say they would also not play football against Russia.

German club Schalke 04 said they were terminating the cooperation with Russian main sponsors Gazprom.

Also, Germany’s Paralympic committee chief, Friedhelm Julius Beucher, has called for Russia’s exclusion from the Paralympics which open in Beijing on Friday.

Russia are due to host Poland in a World Cup qualifier on March 24 with the winners then to host Sweden or the Czech Republic.

All three teams have said they would not play against Russia, and Sweden confirmed this stance Monday.

This was after FIFA on Sunday stopped short of an outright ban and ordered Russia has to play all games on neutral ground behind closed doors and without its national symbols.

“The SvFF is disappointed with FIFA’s decision but is determined to continue to work together with other federations to cancel Russia’s matches in the upcoming World Cup qualifiers,” a statement said.

“The SvFF insists that we will not play any matches against Russia given its illegal and deeply unjust invasion of Ukraine …

“World football cannot silently watch and not act when countries are attacked completely unjustly.”

The Swiss federation said it supported the stance of the Swedes, Poles and Czechs.

It added that it would themselves also not play against Russia, a stance that is “not negotiable” and includes their women’s Euros group game against Russia on June 9.

Danish federation chief Jakob Jensen said that “we are standing shoulder to shoulder with those federations who have announced they don’t want to play against Russia”.

Denmark’s women’s team are in a World Cup qualifying group with Russia.

Like Denmark’s umbrella sports organisation DIF, Jensen called for Russia to be banned from all international sports events.

Norway’s football chief Terje Svendsen tweeted late Sunday that “just like Sweden, Poland and the Czech Republic we believe that playing against Russia is out of the question right now.”

Beucher said he planned to propose Russia’s ban to International Paralympic Committee (IPC) boss Andrew Parsons.

He said that while Russian athletes had nothing to do with the conflict action was still needed against this “attack which violates international law.”

Schalke 04 said its “managing board and supervisory board have come to the agreement to end the club’s partnership with Gazprom prematurely”.

They are now in talks to terminate the deal until 2025 with Gazprom who have been on board since 2007.

Gazprom’s representative on the supervisory board, Matthias Warnig, stepped down last week.

This was after the U.S announced sanctions against him and the North Stream gas pipeline, a Gazprom subsidiary, where he is board chairman.

The second division club dropped the name of its sponsor from the players’ shirts in last weekend’s league match.

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