Soccer: What if Italy or Ukraine restore Iran’s place at the 2022 World Cup?


FootballBut what if Italy or Ukraine restore Iran’s place at the 2022 World Cup?

While Tehran supplies Moscow with kamikaze missiles against Ukraine, the director of Shakhtar Donetsk and Italy’s ambassador to the UN questions Iran’s participation in the next World Cup.

The teams of Italy and Ukraine pose together before a friendly match to be held in October 2018.


The general manager of Ukraine’s Shakhtar Donetsk on Monday called on FIFA to replace Iran with Ukraine for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar (November 20-December 18). deliver drones to Moscow to support its invasion. In a statement published on social media, Serguiy Palkine said, “While Iranian leaders are having fun watching their national teams play in the World Cup, Ukrainians will be killed by Iranian drones and Iranian missiles.”

For weeks, Kyiv has accused Tehran of delivering 136 Shahed suicide drones to Moscow, then using them to specifically target energy infrastructure, a charge Iran and Russia have repeatedly denied. “Each (those drones) were produced and delivered by Iranian authorities, Iranian instructors and the military, and directly trained and directed drone launches,” Mr. Palkine further denounced. “Shakhtar calls on FIFA and the entire international community to immediately ban the Iranian national team from playing in the World Cup following the country’s direct involvement in terrorist attacks against Ukrainians,” he asked Mr. Palkine on Monday.

“While Iranian leaders are having fun watching their national team play in the World Cup, Ukrainians will be killed by Iranian drones and Iranian missiles.”

Sergiy Palkine, general manager of Shakhtar Donetsk

For the leader, FIFA should replace Iran with “Zbirna” of Ukraine, who “proved that they deserve to participate in the World Cup”, so they should “play with their hearts” in the play-offs for a place in the World Cup, in early June. The Ukrainian team, led by Oleksandr Zinchenko and Andriy Yarmolenko, beat Scotland 3-1 in Glasgow before losing to Wales (0-1) in the final of this play-off despite huge international fanfare.

The World Cup regulations allow FIFA to replace one national team with another, especially if a participating country withdraws, but do not specify the criteria used to determine the drawn team. Replacing Iran with Ukraine for political reasons would be a “historical and sporting decision”, Palkine said on Monday, urging world football leaders “not to repeat the mistakes of the 2018 World Cup in Russia”.

Ukraine is not the only country that claims Iran’s participation in the World Cup. Italy also through its ambassador to the United Nations, Paolo Zampolli. The latter sent a letter to FIFA President Gianni Infantino. “Once again, the world expects you to take significant steps to disqualify Iran from the World Cup,” he wrote. There is real concern in the corridors of the United Nations and Washington.”

“The world once again expects you to take important steps to exclude Iran from the World Cup”

Paolo Zampolli, Italian Ambassador to the UN

Paolo Zampolli’s concern is related to the police repression after the death of young Mahsa Ami (22), which sparked a wave of demonstrations in Iran. “Many Iranians were killed, wounded and arrested […]. FIFA is silent on this matter,” he laments, before asking for Squadra Azzurra’s draft. After the defeat to North Macedonia (0:1) at the end of March, he was expelled from the World Cup: “After the disqualification of Iran, I dream and am sure that Italy will play England in the World Cup. As far as I understand, Italy is the first country among the non-qualifiers in the FIFA ranking.

(AFP/Sports Center)

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