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Ukraine ask for World Cup play-off against Scotland to be postponed

Hampden Park file photo
(Image credit: Jeff Holmes)

Ukraine have requested a postponement of their World Cup qualifying play-off semi-final against Scotland following Russia’s invasion of their country.

The two nations were due to meet in Glasgow on March 24, with the winner advancing to play either Wales or Austria for a place at the World Cup in Qatar which starts in November.

But football has been suspended in Ukraine and it is now expected that FIFA will grant the request for the play-off at Hampden Park to be called off.

A statement from the world governing body said: “FIFA can confirm it has received a request from the Ukrainian Association of Football today to postpone their matches scheduled for March.

“FIFA remains in regular contact with UEFA and the Scottish Football Association to find an appropriate solution.

“FIFA expresses its deepest solidarity to everybody affected by what is happening in Ukraine. A further update will be provided in due course.”

The Scottish Football Association has been in contact with both FIFA and UEFA in recent days to discuss both the men’s play-off game and a fixture between the two nations’ women’s teams on April 8.

A postponement of the play-off could also have implications for the semi-final between Wales and Austria in Cardiff.

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Earlier this week Scottish FA president Rod Petrie wrote to Ukrainian football’s governing body  “to send a message of support, friendship and unity” following Russia’s invasion.

“Football is inconsequential amid conflict but we have conveyed the strong sense of solidarity communicated to us by Scotland fans and citizens in recent days,” the SFA said.

Russia’s national teams and clubs have been banned from international competition by FIFA and UEFA, although the Russian Football Union announced on Thursday it would appeal against the ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Russia had also been due to complete in the World Cup play-offs but prior to the ban several nations, including Scotland, had said they would refuse to play against the country at any level until further notice.

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