The director general of Shakhtar Donetsk, Serhiy Palkin, asked FIFA on Monday to exclude Iran from the World Cup in Qatar, due to the use of Iranian suicide drones against the Ukrainian civilian population, and its replacement by the Ukrainian team.
Shakhtar calls on FIFA and the entire international community to immediately ban Iran's national team from World Cup play due to the country's direct involvement in terrorist attacks against Ukrainians.
Palkin, whose team plays its Champions League matches in Poland due to the conflict, considers that such a decision would be "fair", since the Iranian regime also "kills" its own people. "The vacant place should be filled by the Ukrainian national team, which proved that it deserves to participate in the World Cup," he assured.
The official called for "pressure" on the football bureaucracy not to repeat "the mistakes" of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, "hiding under the empty thesis that sport is apolitical." "While the leaders are having fun watching their team play in the World Cup, Ukrainians will die under Iranian drones and missiles. Nearly 250 of those drones have already attacked peaceful cities in Ukraine," he noted.
He denounced that each of these devices has been manufactured and supplied by the Iranian authorities, and that it is Iranian instructors and soldiers who train and manage the drones "that destroy houses, museums, universities, offices, sports fields and patios, and the most important, they kill Ukrainians".
Palkin stressed that there are children among the victims and that "children also dream of seeing their national team in the World Cup." "Facilitating the participation of terrorists in the World Cup is politics. It is time to end such politics," he said.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has called on President Volodymyr Zelensky to sever diplomatic relations with Iran due to Russia's massive attacks with Iranian kamikaze drones on Ukrainian cities, especially civilian infrastructure.
The Iranian authorities categorically deny supplying weapons to both sides in the conflict, which has not prevented the West from already adopting sanctions against Tehran.
Iran, a team coached by the Portuguese Carlos Queiroz, qualified for the World Cup for the sixth time in its history by defeating Iraq last January.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian team was eliminated by Wales in the World Cup playoffs after losing by the minimum in Cardiff last June.