As we all know, Russia was the host of this year’s World Cup Finals, and as such, the host nation is traditionally given automatic qualification rights. As a team that ranked 76th in world football this year, whether they’d have actually had the chance to play in the tournament by virtue of footballing ability is debatable. Interestingly, a strange and wonderful thing happened after the Russian team was knocked out of the tournament by Croatia…
Croatian defender Domagoj Vida decided to dedicate the team’s victory to Ukraine, and used the phrase “Slava Ukraini!” in his celebration of victory over the home team. FIFA decided to look into this matter and declared that there may have been a potential breach of Section 54 of their disciplinary code, which states “anyone who provokes the general public during a game” may face punishment. Now, as Russia disingenuously denies any involvement in events in Ukraine, it’s hard to see why any member of the general public might feel provoked by this and, in addition, it didn’t even happen during a game. Nonetheless, FIFA went on to issue a warning to the player about his conduct.
In many ways, Ukrainians are brilliant and resourceful people. In the days since Vida’s utterance there has been a lot of love sent from Ukraine to Croatia. And, in response to FIFA’s churlish actions, Ukrainians organised themselves a flashmob to show their displeasure. In fact, as we go to print, more than 150 000 people (not just from Ukraine, there are reports of people in the Baltic countries also joining in on the jape) have gone to FIFA’s FB page and offered feedback ratings, plunging their numbers to 1.3 out of 5! As a result FIFA actually suspe
Going back to Vida for just a moment, the reason for the patriotic shout-out was more than just being a good human. Vida plied his trade with Dynamo Kyiv from January of 2013 and as every guest in this country knows, it has a habit of getting under your skin. Slava Ukraini indeed.
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