Shakhtar CEO makes heartfelt plea for Ukraine to take Iran's place at the 2022 World Cup
- Shakhtar issue statement
- Urge FIFA to ban Iran
- Want Ukraine to take their place
WHAT HAPPENED? The chief of Ukraine's top football club has urged Iran to be banned from the World Cup in Qatar next month because of the country's alleged military support of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Palkin has also called on Ukraine to replace Iran in the competition which is due to start on November 20.
WHAT THEY SAID: "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," he said in a statement.
"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."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: FIFA banned Russia and Belarus from international competition in February following the invasion of Ukraine and are now coming under pressure over Iran's participation. Carlos Queiroz's side are due to take on England, Wales and the United States in Group B, while Ukraine missed out on a place in the finals after being beaten 1-0 by Wales in a play-off in Cardiff.
IN THREE PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT? As things stand, Iran are due to play their first fixture of the World Cup finals against England on November 21.