Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny has shared an emotional post on Instagram explaining why he can’t play in a World Cup play-off match against Russia. Poland are scheduled to face the Russians on March 26 but Szczęsny says his conscience won’t allow him to play:
My wife was born in Ukraine, there is Ukrainian blood running through the veins of my son, part of our family is still in Ukraine, a lot of my workers are Ukrainian and they’re all great people. Seeing the suffering on their faces and fear for their country makes me realise I can’t stand still and pretend that nothing has happened.
The moment Putin decided to invade Ukraine he declared war not only on Ukraine but also on all the values Europe stands for. Liberty, Independence but most of all Peace.
On 26th of March We were supposed to play against russia in a play-off match for 2022 World Cup in Qatar. And although my heart breaks while writing this, my concience will not let me play.
Representing your country is the biggest honour in a footballers career but its still a choice.
I refuse to play against players who choose to represent the values and principles of Russia!
I refuse to stand on the pitch, wearing the coulours of my country and listen to the national anthem of Russia!
I refuse to take part in a sporting even that legitimases the actions of the russian government.
I know my impact may only be simbolic but I call on FIFA and UEFA to take action and hold russian federation accountable for their actions.