Ukraine FA Chief Sends Video to FIFA from Frontlines of Ukraine War

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By Martin Graham | 4th Apr 2022

The Ukrainian Football Association president, Andriy Pavelko, made an impassioned plea to the world through FIFA on Thursday via video.

FIFA held its annual Congress on Thursday, just before the FIFA event where the draws were had on Friday in Doha. In attendance were FIFA’s member nations, to discuss the upcoming World Cup and other matters relating to football.

Despite being banned from football, Russia were well represented at the event. It is also understood that Russia are currently contesting the ban in court and are also bidding for hosting rights to the 2028 Euro tournament.

The Ukraine FA chief, Pavelko, who could not travel, sent in a message from the war front to the Congress, asking that FIFA continue to lend their voice to calls for the end of Russia’s invasion in his home country.

“We have regularly received sad news of the deaths of members of the Ukrainian football community,” said Pavelko, wearing an armoured vest in the video recording.

“They have been killed by the aggressors’ rockets from one of the biggest armies in the world. Football has taken a back seat in our country.

“Our children have suffered terrible psychological injuries. Perhaps football will help them forget the horrors of war.

“Let the battles take place not in the streets with weapons but in crowded stadiums in fair football duel and let the spectators in the stands explode when their favourite team scores a goal, not the bombs.”

Infantino, during the Congress, conceded that the 2018 World Cup hosted by Russia “did not even solve the problems in the region. It did not create a lasting peace.”

But he stopped short of demanding an end to the war from Russia’s president Vladimir Putin, who awarded Infantino Russia’s Order of Friendship medal after the last World Cup.

It remains to be seen how long the war will last, but FIFA have intervened with medical supplies and humanitarian funds for the affected in Ukraine. The world football governing body have also promised to do all they can to help Ukrainian football get back on its feet when the war is over.

Lyon signs former Shaktar Donetsk winger

Olympique Lyonnais have completed the signing of 22-year-old Brazilian winger Tete, who fled Ukraine after the invasion.

Tete played for Shaktar Donetsk from 2019, featuring in 108 games and winning a few titles as well. However, due to the war, he had to flee the country and terminate his contract with the Ukrainian club.

Lyon, Brentford and Leicester City were in the running to sign the winger after he exited the club, in line with FIFA’s waiver to allow refugee players from Ukraine find new clubs outside the normal transfer window.

“The arrival of Tete thus reinforces the squad of Peter Bosz, at the dawn of the run-in in Ligue 1,” Lyon said in a statement.

Tete arrives in time to help Lyon in their battle to stay in the top half of the Ligue 1 table, as well as their UEFA Europa League fixture against West Ham United.

Martin Graham is an MFF sports writer

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