Albania refuses to face Russia in UEFA Nations League matches

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — The Albanian government joined the wave of European opposition on Sunday to play sports matches against Russia after the invasion of Ukraine.

This move was notable as Albania are among the few men’s national football teams with matches scheduled soon against Russia in official competitions.

Albania are due to host Russia in Tirana on June 2 as part of the group stage of the UEFA Nations League competition. The second leg will take place on June 13, although UEFA ruled on Friday that Russian teams should find neutral venues for their home games.

“Albania will not participate in any sports matches with the Russian Federation until the end of the Ukrainian occupation,” Foreign Minister Olta Xhacka said on Sunday.


Iceland and Israel were also drawn in the same group in the second tier section of the Nations League. These federations have not indicated their position on playing against Russia.

The Polish football federation has refused to face Russia in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers scheduled for March 24 in Moscow. This match is organized by FIFA, which said only on Sunday that the Russian team could play at a neutral venue, had to wear the name of its football federation as “RFU” and could not use the flag or the National anthem.

The winner of Russia-Poland was to receive Sweden or the Czech Republic five days later for a place at the World Cup in Qatar. These two potential opponents have also refused to play against Russia.

___

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Comments are closed.