Ukraine want to postpone their World Cup qualifier against Scotland, FIFA have said, amid a halt in domestic football during the Russian invasion. FIFA can confirm that it has today received a request from the Ukrainian Football Association to postpone its scheduled matches in March, the world football governing body announced on Thursday.
Ukraine are set to face Scotland in Glasgow on March 24, with the winner then playing either Wales or Austria five days later for a place at this year’s World Cup in Qatar. A large part of the Ukrainian squad is usually made up of players from national clubs such as Dynamo Kyiv and Shakhtar Donetsk. They were disrupted by the shutdown of the domestic league last week and many players who are not from Ukraine have left the country to seek safety.
FIFA said it was in talks with Scottish officials and European football governing body UEFA to find a suitable solution. FIFA expresses its deepest solidarity with all those affected by what is happening in Ukraine.
One option would be to postpone four-team playoff games until the next national team game dates in June. The global World Cup qualifying program has already experienced several delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The draw for the tournament is scheduled for April 1 in Doha, but at least two of the 32 entrants will not be known by that date. The final two spots are expected to be decided in June when four teams from Asia, North or Central America, South America and Oceania travel to Qatar for the intercontinental playoffs.
Ukraine has only qualified for the World Cup once since becoming an independent footballing nation 30 years ago, reaching the quarter-finals in 2006. Ukraine has also reached the quarter-finals of the European Championship last year.
Russia were also due to take part in the World Cup qualifiers and are challenging FIFA’s decision to suspend the country from international football.