The Ukrainian FA have appealed to FIFA for Iran to be kicked out of the World Cup starting on November 20 in Qatar. Iran is accused of supplying weapons to Russia to help with their ongoing invasion of Ukraine, and breaking articles 3 and 4 of FIFA’s statutes on human rights and fighting discrimination.
The executive committee of the Ukrainian FA released a statement on Monday afternoon which read: “taking into account the UN Security Council resolution 22.31 regarding the imposition of sanctions on Iran, and the alleged involvement of Iran in the military aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, we appeal to FIFA with a proposal to consider excluding the Iranian national team from the 2022 FIFA World Cup.”
This appeal comes just days after Shakhtar Donetsk CEO, Sergei Palkin also called for Iran to be chucked out and replaced by Ukraine at this year’s tournament.
The United States said Iran has deployed military experts in Russian-occupied Crimea as the Ukrainian capital city of Kyiv was struck by Iranian-made ‘kamikaze’ drones deployed by the Russian military. Palkin tweeted his response to the drone attacks last week, writing: “while the Iranian leadership will have fun watching their national team play at the World Cup, Ukrainians will be killed by Iranian drones and Iranian missiles.
“Almost 250 such drones have already attacked peaceful cities of Ukraine. Each of them was produced and delivered by the Iranian authorities.
Iranian instructors and the military directly trained and managed the launches of drones that destroyed homes, museums, universities, offices, sports grounds and playgrounds; and, most importantly, killed Ukrainians, including children – children who also dreamed of seeing their national team at the World Cup.
“Shakhtar Football Club calls on FIFA and the entire international community to immediately ban Iran’s national team from playing at the World Cup for the country’s direct participation in terrorist attacks on Ukrainians. This will be a fair decision that should draw the attention of the whole world to a regime that kills its best people and helps kill Ukrainians.
“The vacant place should be taken by the national team of Ukraine; which proved that it is worthy of participation in the Mundial. This decision is historically and sportingly justified. I urge everyone to join the pressure on the football bureaucracy. It is enough to repeat the mistakes of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, hiding behind the empty thesis about sports being apolitical. Facilitating the participation of terrorists in the World Cup is politics. It’s time to put an end to such a policy.”
Iran finished top of the group to qualify for Qatar with relative ease, while Ukraine was beaten by Wales in their play-off final in June. Iran is due to face England in their opening game of the World Cup on November 21, before facing Wales and the United States in Group B.