‘Standing up for what’s right’ Gary Lineker applauds footballers refusing to play Russia

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Gary Lineker, 61, said he is “proud” of footballers after the Polish Football Association announced they will refuse to play Russia in the World Cup play-offs “as a result of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine”. Gary has backed the decision and took to Twitter to praise the team.

The Match of the Day host wrote in view of his 8.3 million followers: “Proud of how footballers are once again standing up for what is right.”

In a later tweet, he continued: “If FIFA gives World Cup qualifier to Poland and throws out Russia (unless, of course, they pull out of Ukraine), it would send a powerful and meaningful message.”

Hundreds of users replied to Gary to share their thoughts.

Lukasz penned: “There are things more important in life than playing football! Even if it should be qualifying to the World Cup. Our neighbours have been attacked. How on earth are we supposed to stand and listen to the aggressor’s national anthem?”

Robert added: “I fully agree,” and Mark wrote: “#StandWithUkraine.”

Whereas Shoai hit out: “Show the same energy for the Palestinians. UEFA/FIFA need to ban Israel from having their own national team… Oh, I forgot that’s too political.”

Poland and Russia were set to go head-to-head in Moscow on March 24.

The winners of that match were due to play either Sweden or the Czech Republic for a place at the World Cup in Qatar later this year.

The Polish Football Association announced the decision in a statement on Saturday morning.

It read: “We, the players of the Polish national team together with the Polish Football Association, decided that as a result of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, we do not intend to play in the play-off match against Russia.

“It is not an easy decision, but there are more important things in life than football.

“Our thoughts are with the Ukrainian nation and our friend from the national team, Tomasz Kedziora, who is still in Kyiv with his family. #SolidarnizUkrainq #NoWarPlease.”

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Poland’s top player, Robert Lewandowski, also tweeted his support.

The Bayern Munich striker wrote: “It is the right decision! I can’t imagine playing a match with the Russian National Team in a situation when armed aggression in Ukraine continues.

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

The president of the Polish FA, Cezary Kulesza, also shared his thoughts when he made the announcement.

He said: “No more words, time to act! 

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