Russia ‘demands UEFA ban Ukraine manager’ for wanting to fight Putin’s forces

Russia is urging UEFA to ban the manager of the Ukraine men’s national team after he said that he would like to fight Vladimir Putin’s invading forces.

The Guardian report that the Football Union of Russia has written to Europe’s football body and accused head coach Oleksandr Petrakov of discriminating against their country and not fulfilling his responsibility to remain politically impartial.

Russian President Putin ordered his troops to invade Ukraine in February of this year and war has continued ever since. In April, Petrakov vowed he would take to arms if the Russian forces ever made it to the Ukrainian capital. "I thought, if they come to Kyiv, I will pick up a weapon and defend my city," he told The Guardian.

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"I am 64 but I felt it was normal to do this. I think I could take two or three enemies out." Petrakov said in the interview he had spoken to Ukraine’s government and asked about joining territorial defence – but that he was advised against it owing to his age and lack of experience.

The FUR claims the comments from Petrakov broke FIFA and UEFA rules which do not allow 'discrimination of any kind against a country' and seeking to promote football 'in a spirit of peace'.

A spokesman for the Ukrainian Association of Football said: “When his country was attacked by invading inhumans, [Petrakov] was ready to defend his land, his women and children.

“He was not accepted into the army due to his lack of military experience, but his step is a testament to his devotion to the country and patriotism.

“What kind of discrimination can we talk about in relation to a nation that deliberately commits genocide against another nation?”

Petrakov won praise in June for his conduct in Britain when his team ended Scotland’s hopes of World Cup qualification at Hampden Park before losing in Cardiff to Wales.

Rogachev’s letter to UEFA does not acknowledge to the invasion of Ukraine and the surrounding war in which thousands have died.

“The statements by the head coach of the Ukrainian representative football team, Oleksandr Petrakov, are made against the background of the political conflict between the two countries – Russia and Ukraine – and represents a political message which obviously violates the fundamental principle of political neutrality,” he wrote.

“Moreover, the head coach’s behavior (sic) can be regarded as involvement on (sic) promoting public hatred on [a] national basis and [the] use of football to assert the (sic) political views.”


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