Russia asks UEFA to ban Ukrainian national football coach Oleksandr Petrakov over his war remarks

Russia demands UEFA ban Ukraine

The Russian football federation has called for the Ukrainian national team manager to be banned after he expressed his willingness to fight Vladimir Putin’s invading armies.

Petrakov tried to join Ukraine’s Territorial Defense Forces when Russia invaded the country in February, but was advised against due to his age and lack of military experience.

He behaved with immense dignity when Ukraine took part in the Qatar World Cup play-offs in June. They beat Scotland but saw their qualification hopes dashed by Wales.

Oleksandr Petrakov, 65, told the Guardian in April that “if they come to Kyiv I will take a gun and defend my city”, adding “I think I could eliminate two or three enemies”.

Now the Football Union of Russia [FUR]banned by UEFA since the invasion, wrote to UEFA accusing Petrakov of discriminating against his compatriots and not remaining politically neutral, asking him to be sanctioned.

FUR Deputy General Secretary Denis Rogachev has accused Petrakov of breaching codes of conduct by calling for a ban on Russia from international sport.

“The statements of the head coach of the representative Ukrainian football team, Oleksandr Petrakov, are made in the context of the political conflict between the two countries – Russia and Ukraine – and represent a political message that manifestly violates the fundamental principle of political neutrality,’ he wrote.

“Furthermore, the behavior of the head coaches can be seen as an involvement in [sic] the promotion of public hatred nationwide and the use of football to assert political views.

He goes on to claim that Petrakov effectively issued a “call for violence” and was “discriminatory on a national basis”.

The Russian national team and Russian clubs have been suspended from all competitions by UEFA and FIFA.

In response to the report, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Football Association told the Guardian: “When his country was attacked by inhuman invaders, [Petrakov] was ready to defend his land, his wives and his children.

“He was not accepted into the army due to his lack of military experience, but his approach shows his devotion to the country and his patriotism.

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

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