FIFA rejects Ukraine stadium ban appeal
FIFA has thrown out an appeal by Ukraine against a stadium ban imposed in the wake of racist incidents during their 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign.
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 27.
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 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.