For reasons of principle, the KNVB refuses to play football against Russia and Belarus, while a World Cup qualifier against Belarus was initially scheduled for the Orange Women this international period. It is still unclear what the consequences of this will be, especially because UEFA has not decided to suspend Belarus and Iceland will play against that country in the World Cup qualifier on Thursday.
At the end of February, at the beginning of the war between Russia and Ukraine, the KNVB released a statement in which the association announced that it would not play matches against the national teams of Russia and Belarus until further notice. A few days later, UEFA came with news. At that time, Russia was already excluded from international football. The European Football Association ruled that Belarus must play all home matches on a neutral ground, without an audience. So no exclusion.
The KNVB arranged a practice match against South Africa on the date that the World Cup qualifier against Belarus was scheduled, next Tuesday in The Hague. After the announcement of that international match, the KNVB told this site to adhere to the statement of the end of February. “The KNVB naturally took a principled position in February,” said a spokesperson for the union. “We will continue to monitor developments closely, we are in constructive consultation with UEFA and we are looking for a suitable solution.”
We continue to monitor developments closely, are in constructive consultation with UEFA and we are looking for a suitable solution
The question is increasingly emphatically raised above the market as to what consequences this principled position has for the Orange Women. After all, it was not UEFA’s decision to exclude Belarus. In fact, Belarus will play ‘normal’ against Iceland next Thursday in the same World Cup qualifying group. On neutral ground, in Belgrade, Serbia. What if the European Football Association suddenly comes with a penalty for the Orange, such as points deduction? Although the Lionesses are the leader in group C of the World Cup qualifiers, they are far from being placed. In theory, in a worst-case scenariothe principled position could cost the Orange women the World Cup.
UEFA has not yet commented on the situation. The media department of the football association tells this site to wait for ‘feedback from within’. More specific questions from this site have remained unanswered for the time being.
I support the statement of the KNVB one hundred percent
Orange captain Sari van Veenendaal agrees with the statement of the KNVB. She indicates that the group of players has not been heard and that the position is a decision of the association itself. She calls the fact that the Icelandic women’s football players do play against Belarus ‘their decision’. ,,I support the statement of the KNVB one hundred percent,” said the keeper. ,,Will we be kept informed? Yes, not in detail, but it seems logical to me that we are informed in the background. It is currently something that is going on between the KNVB, UEFA and FIFA and that is the situation as it is now.”
Van Veenendaal does not want to talk about any sanctions from UEFA. ,,It is neater to wait for the talks that are still going on, before drawing conclusions ourselves. It is something between the KNVB and the parties involved.”
Next Friday, the Orange women will play against Cyprus in the World Cup qualifying cycle (8:45 p.m. in Groningen). On Tuesday, the team of national coach Mark Parsons will practice against South Africa in The Hague, at 6.45 pm.
Free unlimited access to Showbytes? Which can!
Log in or create an account and never miss a thing from the stars.