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

Earlier on Sunday England’s Football Association announced it will not play against Russia in any international fixture “for the foreseeable future” following the invasion of Ukraine. 

In response to the FA’s announcement Dawn Bowden, Wales’ deputy minister for sport, said world football’s governing body FIFA should make a decision on Russian involvement rather than individual associations having to judge the issue for themselves. 

FIFA however attempted to reach a compromise announcing Russia must play international matches in neutral countries without supporters.

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 flag or national anthem can be used and has said it could take additional measures, including "potential exclusion from competitions...should the situation not be improving rapidly".

However that hasn’t proved enough for a number of football associations including the FAW. 

Just after 10pm the FAW announced it teams won’t play against Russia. 

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

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

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

The decision was released on the FAW's social media pages and it posted its 'Together Stronger' motto in Welsh and English and the Ukranian translation, 'stronger together' above its statement.


The FAW's stance was praised by Bowden, who had called Fifa's statement "pathetic and mealy-mouthed". She shared the FAW's tweet and simply posted "Da Iawn" (very good).

FIFA normally takes a dim view of countries where there is political interference in the running of football and can, and has, taken sanctions against national associations if political meddling is suspected.

Wales may feature in a World Cup playoff against Ukraine in Cardiff at the end of March.

That match would depend on Wales winning their playoff semifinal against Austria and Ukraine beating Scotland in Glasgow.

The World Cup will be held in Qatar and Amnesty International has been calling for Qatar to reform its highly restrictive kafala labour system, which continues to bind migrant workers to their employers.

The rights body has said it still has concerns despite some legislative changes and it says the country must better protect migrant workers.

Amnesty's 2021 report overview of human rights in Qatar says: "New laws were passed offering migrant workers better legal protections. Despite government measures to control the spread of COVID-19, migrant workers bore the brunt of the pandemic’s impact.

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

Russia are due to host Poland in a World Cup play-off on March 24 and – if they win – would entertain Sweden or Czech Republic five days later.

The Polish and Swedish associations have already said they don't agree with FIFA's ruling. They and and the Czech association had previoulsy said they would not play against Russia.

In response to FIFA's decision Swedish FA president Karl-Erik Nilsson told Fotbollskanalen: "Our opinion is not 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 had expected a sharper stance from FIFA. We would have done so.”

Wales has no games scheduled against Russia at senior level but the women's team last week competed in the Pinatar Cup, which Russia had also entered, but the two sides weren't drawn against each other.

  • This article originally appeared on our sister site The National. Additional reporting: PA