Robert Lewandowski supports Poland refusing to play Russia ©Getty Images

The Polish Football Association (PZPN) is refusing to play Russia next month in a qualification playoff for the FIFA World Cup, a stance now echoed by the Swedish Football Association (SvFF).

PZPN President Cezary Kulesza announced that the national team does not intend to face Russia, and that the organisation was in talks with Sweden and the Czech Republic to "present a common position to FIFA".

The winner of the tie between Russia and Poland is due to face the winner of Sweden's match with the Czech Republic.

Those matches had been due to be played in Russia, but UEFA announced yesterday that the country is not able to stage any games in UEFA competitions indefinitely.

The PZPN stance comes in the wake of Russia invading Ukraine, and the SvFF has joined it, with President Karl-Erik Nilsson insisting that "regardless of what FIFA chooses to do, we will not play against Russia in March".

Hundreds of people have died in the fighting, including civilians, and the international sporting community has widely condemned the military action.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has called for Russia and Belarus - which is aiding with the invasion - to be stripped of all sporting events which have not already been moved.

Russia and Belarus' flags and anthems should also be banned from all sporting events, the IOC has decried.

This season's UEFA Champions League final is among the events which have been relocated away from Russia.

Robert Lewandowski, Poland's captain and most high-profile player, has welcomed the PZPN's "right decision".

"I can’t imagine playing a match with the Russian National Team in a situation when armed aggression in Ukraine continues," Lewandowski wrote.

"Russian footballers and fans are not responsible for this, but we can’t pretend that nothing is happening."

Lewandowski's Polish team-mates have supported the action en masse, as does SvFF chief Nilsson.

Sweden will  also refuse to play Russia ©Getty Images
Sweden will also refuse to play Russia ©Getty Images

"The illegal and deeply unjust invasion of Ukraine currently makes all football exchanges with Russia impossible," Nilsson said.

"We therefore urge FIFA to decide that the playoff matches in March in which Russia participates will be canceled."

The statement of intent places pressure on FIFA, which has so far condemned "the use of force by Russia in Ukraine and any type of violence to resolve conflicts", to take decisive action.

The Russian football authorities have reacted angrily.

Vyacheslav Koloskov, a former FIFA vice-president, has accused the Poles of "blackmail".