Aston Villa defender Matty Cash was booked after taking his shirt off during a goal celebration to reveal a message of support for a Poland player currently stuck in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.
Cash fired Steven Gerrard’s Villa ahead on 17 minutes of Saturday’s Premier League fixture against Brighton and proceeded to take off his shirt to reveal a top which read: ‘Tomasz Kedziora and family – stay strong bro.’
Kedziora plays for Poland and Dynamo Kviy in the Ukrainian Premier League and is still in the capital city as Russia’s invasion of the country continues.
After revealing the message of support, Polish international Cash was shown a yellow card by referee John Brooks.
For the latest updates on the Russia-Ukraine war, visit our live blog: Russia-Ukraine live
Premier League rules say players cannot ‘reveal undergarments that show political, religious, or personal slogans, statements, or images’.
But it is believed that Cash’s top was not deemed political, with the Villa defender instead booked for removing his Aston Villa shirt, irrespective of the message written underneath.
Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling said: ‘It’s a message for the people in Ukraine, and he’s been booked for it!
‘For goodness sake, John Brooks is an inexperienced Premier League referee and hopefully when people come to their senses, the Premier League will just ignore that. They should just ignore that.’
A number of Premier League clubs showed solidarity with Ukraine during Saturday’s fixtures, with the Manchester United and Watford players displaying a banner at Old Trafford calling for peace.
Everton and Manchester City also wore shirts in their warm-ups which displayed the words ‘no war’.
The Polish FA confirmed on Saturday that they will boycott next month’s World Cup qualifier against Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.
Poland were originally scheduled to travel to Moscow on March 24 for their World Cup qualification play-off match against Russia, with the winner then hosting either Sweden or Czech Republic for a place in next winter’s tournament in Qatar.
A statement read: ‘We, the players of the Polish national team, together with the Polish FA, decided that as a result of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, we do not intend to play in the play-off match against Russia.
‘It is not an easy decision, but there are more important things in life than football. Our thoughts are with the Ukrainian nation and our friend from the national team, Tomasz Kedziora, who is still in Kyiv with his family.’
Poland and Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski added: ‘It is the right decision! I can’t imagine playing a match with the Russian national team in a situation where armed aggression in Ukraine continues.
‘Russian footballers and fans are not responsible for this, but we can’t pretend that nothing is happening.’
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