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FIFA under pressure to hand Iran's World Cup place to Ukraine: 'This will be a fair decision'

Rory O'Callaghan

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FIFA under pressure to hand Iran's World Cup place to Ukraine: 'This will be a fair decision'

FIFA is facing calls to expel Iran from the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and hand their place to Ukraine.

Iran are due to face England in their opening match of the tournament on November 21, with the two sides also drawn alongside the United States and Wales in Group B.

Earlier this month, human rights group Open Stadiums called on world football's governing body to ban the Iranian national team from the World Cup because of the country's treatment of women.

It came as widespread protests gripped the country over the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman who died while in police custody earlier this month.

The Iranian government has also been strongly criticised over its support for Russia in its ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

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The British Ministry of Defence claims that Iran is continuing to supply Russia with uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs), which have been used against targets throughout Ukraine.

Shakhtar Donetsk chief executive Sergei Palkin has called on FIFA to strip Iran of their World Cup spot and give it Ukraine, who were beaten 1-0 by Wales in their play-off final in June.

"While the Iranian leadership will have fun watching their national team play at the #WorldCup, Ukrainians will be killed by Iranian drones and Iranian missiles. Almost 250 such drones have already attacked peaceful cities of #Ukraine," said Palkin, in a statement released on Shakhtar's Twitter account.

Iran have been drawn alongside England, Wales and the United States in Group B (Image: Alamy)
Iran have been drawn alongside England, Wales and the United States in Group B (Image: Alamy)

"Each of them was produced, 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 #WorldCup.

"#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. With unequal conditions with other national teams during the play-offs, they played with their heart.

"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 the apoliticality of sports.

"Facilitating the participation of terrorists in the World Cup is politics. It's time to put an end to such a policy. #Ukraine #StandWithUkraine #FootballStandsTogether."

The World Cup is due to begin in less than a month, with hosts Qatar taking on Ecuador in the opening match of the tournament on November 20.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: FIFA, Football World Cup, Ukraine

Rory O'Callaghan
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