Lviv, Ukraine, Oct 24 (EFE).- The director general of Ukrainian football club Shakhtar Donetsk on Monday urged Fifa to ban Iran from the World Cup in Qatar and replace its spot with the Ukraine team, over the use of Iranian-made suicide drones in Russia’s war in the eastern European country.
“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,” Serhiy Palkin tweeted.
Palkin, whose team plays its Champions League matches in Poland due to the ongoing conflict, said that such a decision would be “fair” given the Iranian regime “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 World Cup,” he continued.
The official called for “pressure” on the football industry not to repeat the mistakes of the 2018 Russian World Cup, “hiding under the empty thesis about the apoliticality of sports.”
“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,” Palkin warned.
He denounced that each of these devices has been manufactured and supplied by Iranian authorities and that it is Iranian instructors and soldiers who train and manage the drones that wrecked homes, museums, universities, offices, sports facilities and children’s playgrounds.
Palkin highlighted that the drones have killed many Ukrainians including children who “dreamed of seeing their national team at the World Cup.”
“Facilitating the participation of terrorists in the World Cup is politics. It’s time to put an end to such a policy,” the Shakhtar Donetsk CEO decried.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has called on President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to sever diplomatic relations with Iran due to Russia’s repeated targeting of civilian infrastructure with Tehran’s kamikaze drones.
Iranian authorities have denied any involvement in the conflict. Despite this, Western nations have slapped sanctions on Tehran over Moscow’s use of the allegedly Iranian-made drones.
Iran, a team coached by Portuguese manager Carlos Queiroz, qualified for the World Cup for the sixth time in its history by defeating Iraq in January.
Ukraine was eliminated by Wales in the World Cup playoffs in Cardiff in June. EFE