FIFA has said it will allow fans to attend Ukraine’s key World Cup qualifier at home to Poland as it considers an appeal against a charge of racist abuse.
FIFA ruled last month that the qualifier in Kharkiv on October 11 would have to be played behind closed doors after the home crowd in Lviv appeared to display neo-Nazi banners as well as making monkey noises and Nazi salutes during the 9-0 victory over San Marino on September 6. The governing body also said there were "several incidents involving pyrotechnical devices" that violated safety regulations.
However, the Football Federation of Ukraine’s vice-president, Sergiy Storozhenko, announced earlier this week that the sanction would be contested.
“We will use every opportunity and provide all the necessary evidence to make it clear to FIFA that you cannot react in this way,” he said. “If there appeared to be three idiots who did it in the stadium that was 100 percent full, with some 35,000 [fans], why should 47 million Ukrainians be punished?”
FIFA said in a statement on its official website that the appeal had been “granted suspensive effect until further notice due to the fact that the FIFA Appeal Committee will not be able to take a decision on the main issue early enough. As such, the sanctions imposed by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee are suspended”.
Ukraine are currently a point behind Group H leaders England with two games remaining as they seek to book their place at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Their final match comes away to San Marino on October 15.