“At the moment, the R.F.U. has not received any information from FIFA regarding the likelihood of postponing or canceling the World Cup qualifiers scheduled for March 24 and 29 in Moscow,” the Russian federation said. “We do not see any legal grounds for canceling the playoff game between the Russian and Polish national teams and the subsequent meeting with Sweden or the Czech Republic. The R.F.U. continues to prepare for these games.”
Russia, its top leaders and several wealthy individuals and companies have already been targeted by the West with heavy penalties that are having an immediate effect on life in the country, including a ban on air travel by Russian airlines to most parts of Europe. That prohibition would most likely make finding a venue for any game involving the Russian team difficult.
Russia is already widely considered a pariah in international sporting circles after a yearslong, state-backed doping program corrupted a series of international sporting events, including world championships and multiple editions of the Olympic Games.
If Russia’s team qualifies for the World Cup — and if it is allowed to play in the tournament — it will not be allowed to use its flag, play its anthem or be known by its regular name under an existing set of punishments issued two years ago by the global antidoping regulator. Those penalties do not cover qualification games.