Kiev (Reuters) - Ukraine could be docked points or forced to play a potentially decisive World Cup qualifier behind closed doors after FIFA launched an investigation into racism, the vice-president of the Ukraine Football Federation said on Friday.
Serhiy Storozhenko said world football’s governing body had launched a case against Ukraine, who host Poland in their next Group H qualifier on October 11, after this month’s 9-0 victory over San Marino in Lviv.
He told local media that according to the report of a Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) observer, Ukrainian supporters waved racist banners and a large t-shirt with the number 88 printed on it, which is a neo-Nazi code for ‘Heil Hitler’.
He also said that a group of 30 people were caught aiming monkey impersonations at the Brazilian-born Ukraine international Edmar.
“In response to these violations FIFA opened a case against Ukraine. Possible punishments range from playing a game behind closed doors to stripping three points from the team and imposing a fine,” Storozhenko said.
“It is hard to talk about deadlines but we are expecting FIFA to arrive at their decision by September 27.”
He added: “We have already fired from the Football Federation of Ukraine a person who was in charge of supporter relations.”
Ukraine are second in Group H on 15 points, level with Montenegro and one behind leaders England, with two matches to play.
Reporting by Igor Nitsak; editing by Toby Davis