'Could take out three enemies': Russians want ban on Ukraine national team coach

Ukraine coach Oleksandr Petrakov is set to be suspended by Uefa.

'Could take out three enemies': Russians want ban on Ukraine national team coach

Ukraine coach Oleksandr Petrakov is set to be suspended by Uefa. The Russian association demands this and wants to see statements punished in which Petrakov violated the guidelines of the major associations. The combative Petrakov had said he could "take out three enemies".

Russia is urging Uefa to ban Ukraine national team coach Oleksandr Petrakov from all football posts worldwide. Petrakov had expressed a desire to fight for the Ukrainian armed forces against the invading Russian troops, reports the British "Guardian". "I thought if they come to Kyiv, I'll take up a gun and defend my city," Petrakov told The Guardian in April. "I'm 64 but I thought it was normal to do this. I think I could take out two or three enemies."

In the interview, which took place at the height of fighting in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, the now 65-year-old coach said that shortly after Russia invaded, he spoke to a member of the Ukrainian government about involvement in the country's defense. He was advised that his age and lack of military experience made it inadvisable. Petrakov also called for a ban on Russian athletes and teams from all international competitions. Petrakov has been the national coach of Ukraine since November 2021.

The Russian Football Association (FUR) referred to these statements to the Uefa committees in order to achieve a punishment for Petrakov. "The statements made by the head coach of the Ukraine 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 fundamental principle of political neutrality," the " Guardian" from a letter from Denis Rogachev, deputy general secretary of FUR, to UEFA. Petrakov's statements violated the guidelines of UEFA and the world association FIFA, which prohibit "any kind of discrimination against a country" and want to promote football "in the spirit of peace". The Russians' letter to UEFA makes no reference to Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the war that has claimed the lives of thousands of civilians and military personnel.

"The statements made by the head coach of the national football team of Ukraine, 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," Rogachev wrote accordingly the Guardians. "Furthermore, the head coach's behavior can be seen as engaging in the promotion of public hatred on a national basis and the use of football to impose political views." Russian football clubs and national teams have been suspended from all competitions by FIFA and UEFA in the wake of Russia's attack on Ukraine, but the ban does not apply to individual players.

FUR cites the precedent of a lifetime ban imposed by UEFA in 2020 on a former official of then-Azerbaijani Champions League contenders Qarabag Agdam after he posted a message on Facebook calling for Armenians, including " children, women and old people". The comments came at the time of conflict between Azerbaijani forces and Armenian forces over the mountainous enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh. The club previously said Ibrahimov was traumatized after seeing footage of the conflict, including the deaths of women and children in Azerbaijani cities, and regretted his comments. UEFA had asked FIFA to extend the ban worldwide.

A spokesman for the Football Union of Ukraine harshly commented on the Russian demands: "When his country was attacked by invading monsters, Petrakov stood ready to defend his country, his women and his children. What kind of discrimination can one speak of in a nation that willfully unites committing genocide against another nation?" UEFA did not want to provide any further information on the process: "We cannot comment on individual cases. If complaints are received, they will be dealt with in accordance with the provisions of the disciplinary code," said a spokesman for the "Guardian".

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