Shakhtar Donetsk chief accuses FIFA of ‘ignoring’ war-torn Ukraine by keeping lucrative Russian TV deals and says Gianni Infantino should ‘visit all the places where the killings happened’
- Sergei Palkin believes Ukraine has been betrayed by football’s governing body
- FIFA has maintained a £35million TV deal with three state-linked TV channels
- That’s despite most of the world cutting links with Russia after Ukraine invasion
- He suggested FIFA president Gianni Infantino should come to war-hit nation
- FIFA did ban Russia from 2022 World Cup and gave humanitarian aid to Ukraine
- Click here for all the latest World Cup 2022 news and updates
Shakhtar Donetsk’s chief executive has taken aim at FIFA for betraying war-torn Ukraine by maintaining lucrative television contracts with Russian broadcasters.
While Russia has been ostracised by most of the world following Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine back in February, world football’s governing body has maintained links.
This includes an ongoing broadcast deal – reportedly worth €39million (£35m) – with three Russian TV channels linked to the state.
And Shakhtar chief Sergei Palkin has questioned whether FIFA grasps the full magnitude of what is happening in Ukraine.
‘How is it possible that everybody in the world stopped having communications and dealings and business with Russia but at the same time FIFA maintains the television contract for the World Cup with Russia?’ he told The Athletic.
Sergei Palkin (left), the chief executive of Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk, has accused FIFA of betraying his country by maintaining TV deals with Russian broadcasters
FIFA president Gianni Infantino with Russian president Vladimir Putin back in 2019
‘It’s unbelievable what’s going on. Maybe FIFA doesn’t understand what’s going on in Ukraine.
‘Maybe [FIFA president Gianni] Infantino should come to Ukraine to see personally what’s happening and what kind of help we ought to receive from FIFA.
‘Look how the leaders of the European Union and the prime minister of Great Britain visited President Zelensky [of Ukraine].
‘But it feels like FIFA ignored us completely.
The Russian national team was banned by FIFA from qualifying for this year’s World Cup
Putin touches the World Cup trophy as Infantino looks on at the World Cup 2018 in Russia
‘I would like Infantino to understand, to come to Ukraine to meet the president of our country, to visit all these places where these killings happened.’
Russia held the men’s World Cup in 2018 and in May 2019, Putin presented Infantino with the Order of Friendship to recognise his ‘enormous contribution’ to them hosting the tournament.
FIFA banned Russia from playing in the upcoming World Cup in Qatar following the invasion and UEFA last week confirmed Russia was banned from Euro 2024.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has left the country devastated with thousands of people dead
Shakhtar Donetsk celebrate a goal against Celtic in the Champions League earlier this month
The governing body also announced a $1million (£924,000) humanitarian donation to ‘support the people in Ukraine and the ones who have fled the war.’
The Ukrainian Premier League restarted last month and Shakhtar have made a strong start, winning three and drawing one of their four matches to sit second in the table while playing their home games in the capital Kyiv.
In the Champions League, Shakhtar beat RB Leipzig 4-1 away from home before drawing 1-1 with Celtic in a ‘home’ fixture played on neutral territory in Warsaw, Poland.