During the Champions League match between the Donetsk team Shakhtar and F.C. Porto in Lviv on Tuesday, September 30, Ukrainian fans supporting the Donetsk team displayed a banner accusing the UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) of condoning Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, reports Dzerkalo Tyzhnia.
The fans hung a banner with an ironic statement on one of their sections, which clearly alluded to the fact that the UEFA is not preparing to react to the illegal actions of the Russian Football Union regarding the annexation of Crimean football. On the banner, letters spelling out “UEFA” were painted in the colors of the Russian flag, and the organization’s slogan “We care about football” was replaced with the statement “We care about Russia.”
During the match, stewards tried to remove the banner from the fans without success. It hung there until the final whistle. The match between Shakhtar and F.C.Porto ended in a 2:2 draw — the Donetsk team lost its advantage during the last 8 minutes of the match.
Earlier, the Football Federation of Ukraine appealed to the UEFA to punish the Russian side for the fact that the Russian Football Union has been grossly violating the rules and norms of international football by absorbing the Crimean teams under its banner and by conducting competitions under its own auspices on the occupied territory of the Ukrainian peninsula. However, the UEFA so far has not developed a clear and unified position on the matter.
Moreover, the organization has decided to give hosting rights for a quarterfinal and three matches of the European 2020 Championship to the Russian city of St. Petersburg. These decisions were made against the background of the EU sanctions against Russia and the appeals by a number of European and American politicians to FIFA (the International Federation of Association Football) to relocate the 2018 World Cup, also awarded to St. Petersburg, to a more worthy location.
Earlier, Polish fans of Legia Warsaw, which met up with the Ukrainian team Metalist in the group tournament of the Europa League, sent a message to UEFA through a banner stating “UEFA: football does not matter, but money does.” For this action of the Polish fans in Nyon, Switzerland, the Polish team was fined 80,000 Euros.
In Ukraine, the Union of European Football Associations formally banned any display of the banner “UEFA — we care about Russia,” reports the Lviv news agency Zik, October 2.
According to the official site of the Kyiv Dynamo on Facebook, the UEFA has not presented any arguments for the ban.
“It’s official! the ‘UEFA – we care about Russia’ banner is prohibited at the European Cup competitions in Ukraine. Without justification,” the statement said.