Following Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, FIFA has agreed to give the Ukrainian men’s national football team, a breather by postponing the match they were due to play against Scotland at Hampden Park on 24 March.
It means that the play-off final for the winners of the game, against Austria or Wales, will now be delayed until further notice.
Instead of Ukraine, Scotland will now aim to play a friendly on that date. After that, they are due to play an away match against whoever loses between the Wales versus Australia clash on 29 March.
The Scottish Football Association said that they supported the decision to honour Ukraine’s request to postpone the match and they reiterated their message of solidarity to their colleagues and friends in the Ukrainian Association of Football
Ian Maxwell, the chief executive of the Scottish Football Association said in a statement that the importance and significance of soccer must take a back seat in times of war and that the Scottish FA’s thoughts are with the Ukrainian people during the Russian invasion.
Mark McGhee, the former Scottish assistant manager also concurred with the decision to postpone the play-off. McGhee, who won 4 caps for the Scottish men’s national football team, said he thought that the decision was the right thing to do in respect of not only what is happening in Ukraine, but the impact it has on their football players.
The Ukrainian national side has three players currently playing in the English Premier League. They are Vitaliy Mykolenko, who plays left-back for Everton, Oleksandr Zinchenko, a versatile defender/midfielder, who plays for Manchester City, and Andriy Yarmolenko, a forward player for West Ham United.
All three have led their respective teams out of the tunnel and onto the pitch amid great shows of support for the Ukrainian people from fans. Andriy Yarmolenko is the only striker among the three. He can hardly be considered as one of Europe’s greatest strikers, but after taking a short, compassionate leave, he has managed to score 2 goals for both club and country, which have great significance from a patriotic point of view.
All three players are likely to figure in Ukraine’s postponed game against Scotland and will be hoping to take part in the FIFA World Cup finals in Qatar due to take place between 21 November to 18 December.