Leeds United man sends FIFA clear message with emoji response to Russia decision

Leeds United's Mateusz Klich has made his feelings on FIFA's sanction of Russia abundantly clear on social media.

By Graham Smyth
Monday, 28th February 2022, 12:59 pm
Updated Monday, 28th February 2022, 1:00 pm

The midfielder and his Polish team-mates released a statement on Saturday declaring their intention to boycott the World Cup qualifying play-off game against Russia, due to the invasion of Ukraine.

Since then, FIFA have taken action against Russia, saying they can continue to play matches but only on neutral venues, under the name 'Football Union of Russia' without their country's flag or anthem, while warning the country could be banned from competition if the situation in Ukraine does not improve.

Their 'immediate first measures' have been rejected by Polish Football Association chief Cezary Kulesza who insisted the Poland team will not play against Russia.

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He Tweeted: "Today’s FIFA decision is totally unacceptable. We are not interested in participating in this game of appearances. Our stance remains intact: Polish National Team will not play with Russia, no matter what the name of the team is," he wrote on twitter.

"If FIFA's Human Rights Policy is more than just words on paper, now is the time to put it into effect, excluding the Russian Football Association from qualifying for the Qatar World Cup in 2022," he added in a statement.

"I am not interested in the game of appearances. A real tragedy is happening in Ukraine, people are dying, including athletes, and we would have to pretend that Russia is not Russia, because it is playing under a different name? It was a scandalous proposition, I did not hesitate for a minute. At this difficult moment, we must act as we should. We, Poles, understand it, Swedes and Czechs also understand it."

Klich has also responded to the sanctions on Russia, via social media, via his Instagram account. He posted an image of the FIFA headquarters and overlayed two emojis - a vomiting face and a banded stack of US dollars.

RUSSIAN BOYCOTT - Leeds United's Mateusz Klich joined his Poland team-mates in boycotting their World Cup qualifying play-off with Russia, after the invasion of Ukraine. Pic: Getty

Poland have been joined by the English Football Association in refusing to play any matches against Russia.

A spokesperson said: "Out of solidarity with the Ukraine and to wholeheartedly condemn the atrocities being committed by the Russian leadership, The FA can confirm that we won’t play against Russia in any international fixtures for the foreseeable future. This includes any potential match at any level of senior, age group or para football."