FIFA rejects Ukraine stadium ban appeal

Zurich-based FIFA on Wednesday said it had thrown out an appeal by Ukraine against a football stadium ban imposed in the wake of racist incidents during their 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign.

FIFA rejects Ukraine stadium ban appeal
Photo: FIFA

In a statement, global football's governing body said an appeal hearing upheld in its entirety a decision handed down by the FIFA disciplinary body on September 27th.
As a result, fans will be banned from Ukraine's first home game when the 2018 World Cup qualifiers kick off in 2016.
Ukraine are also barred from playing any of their 2018 World Cup qualifiers in the Arena Lviv, scene of the incidents.
On September 6, during a qualifier against minnows San Marino, Brazilian-born Ukraine player Edmar faced racist taunts by his own team's fans, who also made Nazi salutes and displayed SS symbols.
"The offensive and discriminatory actions of a group of Ukrainian supporters were shameful and a clear breach of the FIFA Disciplinary Code," FIFA said.
Ukraine were also fined 45,000 Swiss francs (36,500 euros, $49,460) by FIFA, and warned that their fans' future conduct would be squarely in the spotlight.
"FIFA is committed to fighting all forms of discrimination in football and works closely with its member associations around the world to educate and inspire a message of equality and respect," FIFA said.
The governing body has stepped up its anti-racism efforts, in March 2013 creating a specific task force to battle the problem.
"FIFA also insists on strict punishments to send out a strong message that discrimination has no place in the game," FIFA said.
Ukraine, whose 2014 World Cup qualifying run was halted by France in last week's playoffs, have also found themselves under scrutiny over an October qualifier against Poland.
Some supporters brandished flags which during World War II were the banner of the Nazi German-allied Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UIA), which massacred Jews and Poles.
The flag is commonly used by Ukrainian nationalist and far-right groups — the latter have found fertile territory in Eastern Europe's stadiums since the fall of the Iron Curtain two decades ago, campaigners note.
But Ukraine's nationalist Svoboda party — now the fourth-largest in parliament, and whose heartland is in the western city of Lviv — says history has been slanted against the UIA, which also fought the Soviets in a vain effort to win independence, and that honouring it in stadiums is legitimate.
Svoboda's electorate ranges from neo-Nazis and hardcore nationalists to mainstream voters weary of corruption and political wrongdoing in Ukraine.
The party was rebuked by FIFA last month after a delegation including members of parliament visited FIFA's Swiss base and posed with flags.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Trial over 2006 German World Cup corruption opens in Switzerland

Three former German football officials and ex-FIFA Secretary General Urs Linsi went on trial on Monday in Switzerland over suspicions that Germany bought votes to obtain the 2006 World Cup.

Trial over 2006 German World Cup corruption opens in Switzerland

The three defendants have indicated that they will not be present at the hearing in Bellinzona for a variety of reasons, including fear of travelling because of coronavirus contagion.

Swiss Linsi, 70, former German Football Association (DFB) presidents Wolfgang Niersbach, 69, and Theo Zwanziger, 74, and 78-year-old former DFB General Secretary Horst R. Schmidt are being prosecuted for “fraud”.

They are accused by the Swiss Federal Prosecutor's Office (BA) of concealing from the DFB the true destination of a transfer of 6.7 million euros ($7.6 million today), paid in 2005 by the organising committee to former Adidas boss, the late Robert Louis-Dreyfus, via FIFA.

The case of former World Cup organising committee chairman Franz Beckenbauer is being heard separately because of the former Germany captain's poor health.

The investigation was prompted by a report in German publication Der Spiegel in 2015 that Germany had used a secret fund of 10 million Swiss francs (6.7 million euros at the time) to buy votes and obtain the rights to host the competition at the expense of South Africa.

Beckenbauer is suspected of having asked Louis-Dreyfus, to contribute to this fund shortly before the vote on the host in the summer of 2000.

Louis-Dreyfus was allegedly reimbursed by the German Football Association on the pretext of expenses related to a FIFA gala evening, which ever took place.

Zwanziger, Niersbach and Schmidt have also been charged with tax fraud in Germany and the case is expected to come to trial in the coming months. cpb/pb/td