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Russia fail in effort to get Ukraine coach Oleksandr Petrov banned

Russia has failed in its efforts to persuade UEFA to ban Oleksandr Petrakov after Ukraine’s national team coach expressed a willingness to take up arms and fight Vladimir Putin’s invading armies.

Petrakov, 65, told the Guardian back in April that “if they come to Kiev, I will pick up a weapon and defend my city,” adding “I think I could take out two or three enemies.”

This led to the Russian Football Federation writing to UEFA accusing Petrakov of discriminating against their country and failing to remain politically neutral and calling for him to be banned.

But in a Facebook post, the head of the Ukrainian Football Federation, Andrii Pavelko, wrote that UEFA merely warned Petrakov and issued a small fine, which the organization paid on his behalf.

He accused Russia of ‘distraction tactics’ on the eve of Ukraine’s crucial UEFA Nations League game against Scotland on Wednesday night.

Russia has failed in its bid to have Ukraine coach Oleksandr Petrakov banned for 'discrimination' after the 65-year-old vowed to take up arms against Vladimir Putin's armies
Russia has failed in its bid to have Ukraine coach Oleksandr Petrakov banned for 'discrimination' after the 65-year-old vowed to take up arms against Vladimir Putin's armies

Russia has failed in its bid to have Ukraine coach Oleksandr Petrakov banned for ‘discrimination’ after the 65-year-old vowed to take up arms against Vladimir Putin’s armies

Petrakov said in an interview shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine in February that he would fight to defend the city of Kiev - the picture is the burial of military soldiers in the city
Petrakov said in an interview shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine in February that he would fight to defend the city of Kiev - the picture is the burial of military soldiers in the city

Petrakov said in an interview shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine in February that he would fight to defend the city of Kiev – the picture is the burial of military soldiers in the city

Ukraine are also away to Armenia on Saturday and Scotland again next Tuesday, on neutral ground in the Polish city of Krakow, as they look to secure promotion to League A in the competition.

It came as UEFA is expected to confirm the Russian team will be banned from Euro 2024, while the conflict in Ukraine still rages almost seven months after Putin’s military first invaded.

In a Facebook post, Ukrainian FA chief Andrii Pavelko said UEFA only warned and fined Petrakov for his comments
In a Facebook post, Ukrainian FA chief Andrii Pavelko said UEFA only warned and fined Petrakov for his comments

In a Facebook post, Ukrainian FA chief Andrii Pavelko said UEFA only warned and fined Petrakov for his comments

“The Russian hysteria about the head coach of the national team of Ukraine, Oleksandr Petrakov, is not worth the slightest attention, because their ill-mannered complaint has long been dealt with by UEFA,” wrote Pavelko.

“Of course, there is no ban and could not have been. There was a warning and a minor fine, which the Ukrainian Football Federation had the honor of paying.

So in vain the Russians are now trying – on the eve of an important match for the Ukrainian national team – to distract our preparations.

‘Everyone is as focused as possible on this and preparing to support our boys.

‘PS At the same time, the Russian has nothing to prepare for. As required, Russia will not feature in the Euro 2024 qualifying draw in Frankfurt, Germany on October 9 and will not feature in official international football competitions until at least 2024.

‘Euro 2024 will pass without an aggressor country! Glory to Ukraine!’

As reported by The Guardianaccused FUR Deputy General Secretary Denis Rogachev Petrakov of breaking codes of conduct by calling for Russia to be banned from international sports.

Russia were accused of distraction tactics with Ukraine due to play Scotland on Wednesday
Russia were accused of distraction tactics with Ukraine due to play Scotland on Wednesday

Russia were accused of distraction tactics with Ukraine due to play Scotland on Wednesday

Ukraine won at Hampden Park back in June as they tried to qualify for the World Cup
Ukraine won at Hampden Park back in June as they tried to qualify for the World Cup

Ukraine won at Hampden Park back in June as they tried to qualify for the World Cup

Ukraine narrowly missed out on a place at the World Cup, losing to Wales in a play-off
Ukraine narrowly missed out on a place at the World Cup, losing to Wales in a play-off

Ukraine narrowly missed out on a place at the World Cup, losing to Wales in a play-off

Petrakov tried to join Ukraine’s Territorial Defense Forces when Russia invaded the country back in February, but was dissuaded due to his age and lack of military experience.

He conducted himself with immense dignity when Ukraine took part in the Qatar World Cup play-offs back in June. They defeated Scotland but saw their hopes of qualification ended by Wales.

Rogachev’s letter to UEFA did not mention his country’s invasion of Ukraine or the thousands of civilians and military personnel who have died during the conflict.

“The statements of the head coach of the Ukrainian national football team, Oleksandr Petrakov, are made against the background of the political conflict between the two countries – Russia and Ukraine – and represent a political message that clearly violates the basic principle of political neutrality.” ‘ he wrote.

Russia's letter to UEFA did not mention the massive destruction caused by their country's invasion of Ukraine, or the thousands who have died.  The photo shows damage in Kharkiv
Russia's letter to UEFA did not mention the massive destruction caused by their country's invasion of Ukraine, or the thousands who have died.  The photo shows damage in Kharkiv

Russia’s letter to UEFA did not mention the massive destruction caused by their country’s invasion of Ukraine, or the thousands who have died. The photo shows damage in Kharkiv

‘Furthermore, the behavior of the head coaches can be regarded as involvement in [sic] promoting public hatred on a national basis and using football to assert political views.’

It goes on to claim that Petrakov effectively made a “call to violence” and was “discriminatory on a national basis”.

The Russian national team and Russian clubs have been suspended from all competitions by both UEFA and FIFA.

A Ukrainian unit rides tanks as they retake territory taken by Russia earlier in the conflict
A Ukrainian unit rides tanks as they retake territory taken by Russia earlier in the conflict

A Ukrainian unit rides tanks as they retake territory taken by Russia earlier in the conflict

In response, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Football Association told The Guardian: ‘When his country was attacked by invading inhumans, [Petrakov] was ready to defend his country, his women and children.

β€œHe was not inducted into the army due to his lack of military experience, but his steps are a testament to his devotion to the country and patriotism.

‘What kind of discrimination can we talk about in relation to a nation that deliberately commits genocide against another nation?’

Petrakov managed various Ukraine youth teams for a decade before being installed as national team manager in August 2021.

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