Qatar and Russia were embarrassed as football bosses were finally forced to face the real world.
The president of the Football Federation of Ukraine, Andriy Pavelko, donned a flak jacket during a speech filmed in central Kyiv that was played to delegates at the Fifa annual congress in Doha.
And his powerful message fueled criticism in the Congress Hall, as accused by Norwegian FA President Lise Klaveness FIFA to relinquish his leadership responsibilities for both this year World Championship host and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
As two Russian football executives fidgeted in their seats, Pavelko denounced Moscow’s “aggressors.”
He said: “We are sure that we will fight back and win because we have the truth behind us.
“Let there be no air raid alarms in our cities, but the chants of the fans.
“Let the fighting not take place in the streets with guns, but in crowded stadiums in fair football duels and let the spectators in the stands explode when their favorite team scores a goal, not the bombs. We believe it will be.”
That comes after Klaveness outraged the Qatari hosts by saying: “The 2010 World Cup was awarded by FIFA in an unacceptable way with unacceptable consequences.
“Human rights, equality, democracy, the core interests of football, were only many years later in the starting XI.
“These basic rights were mainly put under pressure from outside.
“The injured migrant workers or the families of those who died in the run-up to the World Cup should be taken care of.
“FIFA, all of us, must now take all necessary measures to really implement the change.”
Klaveness also called for future potential World Cup hosts to be left out of the equation unless “football’s core interest, human rights and the promotion of diversity and anti-discrimination” are ensured.
And she took a look at Fifa boss Gianni Infantino’s slow response to the invasion of Ukraine, adding: “We now have a brutal war in Europe.
“Innocent people are being killed in senseless power struggles.
“A previous World Cup host has invaded the country of one of our members.
“FIFA was hesitant at first. International pressure forced real action.
“Instead of following, FIFA must lead.”
Her powerful speech drew an immediate reaction as Honduran FA General Secretary Jose Mejia took to the podium to denounce her, arguing: “This is not the stage for it.”
And Hassan Al-Thawadi, secretary-general of Qatar’s top committee, also attacked the Norwegian, accusing her of appearing to embarrass his nation.
He said: “She has visited our country and has not requested a meeting. She did not attempt to contact us or attempt to engage in dialogue before speaking to Congress.”
Al-Thawadi was joined by Infantino, who spoke about the country’s “hard facts” and presented a video praising Qatar’s efforts to reform its labor rules.
But Russia’s Andriy Sorokin dismissed Ukraine’s criticism, insisting: “We regret that he has these emotions.
“It’s difficult for them, we understand that, but I’m not here to discuss politics or military activities.
“We won’t run. We don’t hide. We have every right to be here.”
However, Sorokin hinted that Russia’s Euro 2028 bid, which Uefa had earmarked for the British Isles’ five-nation bid, could potentially be focused on a 2032 campaign.
Uefa is likely to ban the Russians from participating no matter what, but Sorokin added: “The World Cup bid started with each country bidding for two, 2018 and 2022.
“Countries have naturally focused on which year they like better and I suspect that’s the process we’re looking at.”
https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/18129265/ukrainian-fa-president-flak-jacket-fifa-congress/ The President of the Football Union of Ukraine wears a flak jacket in a video message to the Fifa annual congress in war-torn Kyiv