Shakhtar call for Iran to be thrown out of the World Cup
Shakhtar Donetsk have called for Iran to be banned from playing at the Qatar 2022 World Cup and Ukraine to replace them because "terrorists" should not be allowed to play in the tournament.
Ukraine was invaded by Russia in February. The country's football team reached the final stage of UEFA's qualification play-offs but suffered defeat to Wales in June.
FIFA and UEFA subsequently banned Russia from playing international football.
Now however, Ukrainian Premier League side Shakhtar on Monday urged FIFA to prevent Iran from competing in Qatar, and to replace them with Ukraine instead.
"While the Iranian leadership will have fun watching their national team play at the World Cup, Ukrainians will be killed by Iranian drones and Iranian missiles," club CEO Sergei Palkin said in a statement.
"Almost 250 such drones have already attacked peaceful cities of Ukraine. Each of them was produced, delivered by the Iranian authorities.
"Iranian instructors and the military directly trained and managed the launches of drones that destroyed homes, museums, universities, offices, sports grounds and playgrounds, and most importantly, killed Ukrainians, including children.
"[These are] children who also dreamed of seeing their national team at the World Cup. Shakhtar Football Club calls on FIFA and the entire international community to immediately ban Iran's national team from playing at the World Cup for the country's direct participation in terrorist attacks on Ukrainians.
"This will be a fair decision that should draw the attention of the whole world to a regime that kills its best people and helps kill Ukrainians.
"The vacant place should be taken by the national team of #Ukraine, which proved that it is worthy of participation. With unequal conditions with other national teams during the play-offs, they played with their heart.
"This decision is historically and sportingly justified. I urge everyone to join the pressure on the football bureaucracy. It is enough to repeat the mistakes of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, hiding behind the empty thesis about the apoliticality of sports.
"Facilitating the participation of terrorists in the World Cup is politics. It's time to put an end to such a policy."