The Russian Football Federation has called for the suspension of Ukraine coach Oleksandr Petrakov, over his racist comments.
And Petrakov, 65, had told the Guardian English newspaper last April about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: “If they come to Kyiv, I will take up a gun and defend my city. I think I can get rid of two or three.”
The Russian Federation sent a letter to the European Football Association “UEFA” accusing Petrakov of discriminating against the Russians, and of failing to maintain his political neutrality, calling for his suspension.
Denis Rogachev, secretary general of the Russian Football Association, accused the Ukraine coach of breaking the rules when he demanded that Russia be banned from international sport.
The letter was as follows:
“The statements made by the coach of the Ukraine national team, Oleksandr Petrakov, came against the background of a political conflict between two countries – Russia and Ukraine – and represent a political message in clear violation of the main rules of political neutrality.”
“In addition, the coach’s behavior can be seen as interfering with and publicly promoting hatred on a national basis, and the exploitation of football to support a political orientation.”
The letter also described Petrakov’s comments as an invitation to violence.
Coach Petrakov had previously attempted to join the Ukrainian Defense Forces when the Russian invasion began last February, but was advised not to proceed due to his age and lack of military experience.
The coach led the Ukraine national team in the World Cup qualifiers, where they beat Scotland and lost the opportunity to qualify at the hands of Wales.
“When Petrakov’s country was attacked by inhumane people, the man was ready to defend his land, his women and his children,” a spokesman for the Ukrainian Football Federation told the Guardian.
“He was not accepted into the army because of his lack of military experience, but his step was a testament to his patriotism and devotion to his country,” he added.
And he concluded, “What kind of discrimination can we talk about regarding a nation committing genocide against another nation?”
A UEFA spokesperson said: “We cannot comment on individual cases. When complaints are received, they are dealt with in accordance with the governing rules and regulations.”
“We don’t have any more information to offer at the current stage,” he concluded.
The Russian national team and its clubs are still banned from participating in all UEFA and FIFA competitions.