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Qatar World Cup: Ukraine FA appeals to Fifa to ban Iran from tournament

Ukrainian body accuses Tehran of supplying weapons to Russia and breaking Fifa statutes on human rights and fighting discrimination
Iran's players celebrate during the friendly football match between Senegal and Iran in Moedling, Austria on 27 September 2022 (AFP)
Iran's players celebrate during the friendly football match between Senegal and Iran in Modling, Austria, 27 September 2022 (AFP)

Ukraine’s football association is appealing to the sport's governing body Fifa to ban Iran from next month’s World Cup over its arming of Russia, according to a report in Sky Sports News. 

The executive committee of Ukraine’s FA said on Monday it believed Iran was supplying weapons to Russia and breaking Fifa statutes which commit to respecting human rights and fighting discrimination. 

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Earlier this month, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Iranian-made “kamikaze” suicide drones and missiles were “attacking all of Ukraine” - a claim rejected by Tehran.

The UK government and the EU subsequently imposed sanctions on three Iranian generals and an arms firm over Russia’s use of Iranian drones to bomb Ukraine.

Ukraine’s FA said that it was basing its appeal on “systematic manifestations of human rights violations in Iran, which may violate the principles and norms of the Fifa charter”.

It added that Iran’s “alleged involvement … in the military aggression of the Russian Federation” and potential violation of United Nations security council resolution 2231 on Iran sanctions was grounds for removal from the tournament.

Just days ago, Sergei Palkin, chief executive of Ukrainian team Shakhtar Donetsk, called on Fifa to remove Iran from the World Cup and replace them with Ukraine. 

“Shakhtar… 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,” Palkin said. 

He said that Iran's place in the World Cup should be taken by Ukraine, “which proved that it is worthy of participation”, stating that “with unequal conditions with other national teams during the play-offs, they played with their heart”.

Iran will be participating in its seventh World Cup, and its fourth in succession. Its first match will be against England on 21 November, in a group which includes the United States and Wales. 

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