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UKRAINE

Sweden join Poles in boycotting Russia in World Cup play-offs: Federation

Sweden will not play Russia in the 2022 World Cup play-offs because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the football federation said on Saturday.

Sweden's midfielder Albin Ekdal reacts during football match
Sweden's midfielder Albin Ekdal reacts during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualification group B football match between Spain and Sweden, at La Cartuja Stadium in Seville, on November 14th, 2021. (Photo by JORGE GUERRERO / AFP)

Sweden would have to beat the Czech Republic and Russia overcome Poland for them to face each other on March 29th in Russia.

“Whatever Fifa decide, we will not play against Russia in March,” Karl-Erik Nilsson, president of the federation said in a statement.

Earlier on Saturday, the Poles said they would not play the Russians in Moscow — which hosted the World Cup final only four years ago — on March 24th for the same reason.

The Polish and Swedish federations had issued a statement along with the Czechs on Thursday — the day the invasion began — demanding FIFA play the matches away from Russia.

Fifa did not react to the latest Polish move on Saturday when approached by AFP.

On Thursday, Fifa president Gianni Infantino had said they hoped the “situation (The conflict between Ukraine and Russia) will be resolved by then” but they could take a decision at “any moment.”

In a separate development, the Swedish government said they were going to try and persuade the other 27 European Union states to impose a blanket sporting ban on Russia for “as long as the invasion of Ukraine lasts”.

“The most important thing is that the Russian aggression ceases,” said Swedish Sports Minister Anders Ygeman in a statement.

“If the EU decides on a sporting boycott, that will help achieve this target.”

The Swedes are proposing a boycott of all competitions being hosted in Russia and further that no Russian athlete can compete in the European Union.

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RUSSIA

Sweden’s ex-NBA star leaves Moscow team

Sweden's ex-NBA star Jonas Jerebko has quit CSKA Moscow, the team said on Saturday, less than three months after his controversial decision to join the organisation amid international condemnation of Russia.

Sweden's ex-NBA star leaves Moscow team

The Swedish basketball federation cut Jerebko from the national squad at the end of March, a day after he joined CSKA Moscow, saying his decision was “against the federation’s values and our very clear stance towards Russia” over its invasion of Ukraine.

CSKA Moscow wrote on its website on Saturday that “the transition to CSKA turned out to be difficult for Jonas in many ways”.

The Swedish federation said Jerebko would however not be returning to the national squad.

His decision to leave CSKA “doesn’t in any way change the decision we made when he signed with them”, the head of the federation Fredrik Joulamo told Swedish news agency TT.

Jerebko, 35, is the only Swede to have played in the NBA, where he spent 10 seasons with the Detroit Pistons, Boston Celtics, Utah Jazz and Golden State Warriors between 2009 and 2019.

Jerebko last played for Sweden in a World Cup qualifier against Croatia at the end of February, during which the federation and players showed their support for Ukraine.

Prior to signing for CSKA, Jerebko was without a club after having finished his contract with Khimki Moscow in 2021.

CSKA Moscow have been excluded from the Euroleague because of Russia’s invasion.
  

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