Ukraine facing threat of FIFA suspension – official
The Ukrainian Association of Football (UAF) could have its FIFA and UEFA membership suspended if it does not resolve a row involving allegations of embezzlement and third-party influence, UAF vice-president Oleg Protasov has said.
Protasov shared a letter on his Facebook page on Monday which is addressed to him and signed by FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura and UEFA counterpart Theodore Theodoridis.
“We note with grave concern that UAF Executive Committee members are allegedly being pressured into signing requests to hold an extraordinary meeting of the UAF Executive Committee,” the letter reads.
“In this context, we would like to remind the UAF of its obligation… to manage its affairs independently and with no undue influence from third parties.
“Any violation of this obligation may lead to a suspension of UAF’s membership with FIFA and UEFA in line with art. 16 of the FIFA Statutes and art. 9 of the UEFA Statutes.
“Going forward, we sincerely hope that the situation can be resolved amicably.”
The executive committee of the UAF is due to meet on December 20 to discuss the position of current president Andrey Pavelko.
Pavelko was arrested last month by Kiev’s Pechersk Court on claims of embezzlement in a case opened in 2021 and involving alleged misuse of funds.
Pavelko was released on bail of almost 10 million hryvnia (around $270,000), with the money reportedly paid by the UAF.
Ukrainian football icon Andrey Shevchenko has been nominated by a group of UAF officials as a potential replacement for the scandal-hit Pavelko.
Protasov, who made 68 appearances for the Soviet Union during his playing days, has claimed a “subversive group” is behind the efforts to oust Pavelko and install Shevchenko in his place.
Among other things, the row threatens to derail Ukraine’s joint bid to host the World Cup in 2030 alongside Spain and Portugal.
The angry Protasov described the affair as “dirty and humiliating” for Ukrainian football.
“The world football community cannot and will not close its eyes to the attempts to conduct illegal elections in the UAF,” he wrote in his Facebook message.
“Let’s respect the merits of football in Ukraine, not destroy its reputation.”
The dispute comes amid a row between Ukraine and FIFA over a request from President Vladimir Zelensky to share a video message ahead of Sunday’s World Cup final in Qatar.
FIFA reportedly rejected the plea, apparently keen to keep any such campaigns away from the football pitch, and leaving Ukrainian government officials “surprised by the negative response.”