FIFA upholds Ukraine racism sanction

FIFA has rejected Ukraine’s appeal against the punishment imposed after fans racially abused their own black player and made Nazi salutes at a World Cup qualifying match.

FIFA previously criticized the ”shameful” incidents at the September 6 qualifier played in Lviv. FIFA said ¬†that its appeals committee confirmed Arena Lviv is barred from staging qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup. The stadium hosted three matches at the 2012 European Championship finals.

Ukraine must also play its first home qualifier for 2018 behind closed doors. The Ukrainian football federation, which was also fined 45,000 Swiss francs, can appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

FIFA said it warned the federation about future conduct.

In a ruling published in September, FIFA’s disciplinary panel said that ”the … actions of a group of Ukrainian supporters were shameful.”

“The FIFA Appeal Committee yesterday decided to reject the appeal lodged by the FFU and confirm the decisions rendered by the FIFA disciplinary committee with regard to the FFU on September 27 in their entirety,” said a statement.

“As such the next home match of the A representative team of Ukraine in the preliminary competition for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia will be played without spectators.

“In addition, the A representative team is banned from playing in the Arena Lviv stadium for the duration of the same competition.

“The FFU is also ordered to pay a fine of 45,000 Swiss francs (about ¬£30,400) and has been warned as to its future conduct.

“When rendering the decision, the FIFA appeal committee also recalled the resolution on the fight against racism and discrimination approved at the FIFA Congress in May 2013, which advocated the need for stricter application of sanctions.”

FIFA has long talked of getting tough on those found guilty of racism and finally, it would appear that they are being true to their word.

As for Ukraine, expulsion from FIFA competitions must now be a consideration, should there be a repeat of such appalling incidents.