Newsdesk - FIFPro Questions Putin Role in Russian FA Resignation; FIFA's Prince Ali on Iraqi Blast

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FIFPro Leader Cries Foul After Russian FA Chief’s Resignation

FIFPro secretary general Theo van Seggelen claims Monday’s surprise resignation of Russian Football Union CEO Sergei Fursenko was forced by state influence.
Sergei Fursenko, former CEO of the Russian Football Union (RFU)

“Fursenko resigned, because of the Russian government. Unacceptable.” Van Seggelen tweeted.

According to a statement from the Kremlin, the resignation of Fursenko followed a meeting between him and Vladimir Putin in which the Russian president expressed his disappointment at the country’s failure to advance to the quarterfinals at Euro 2012.

“I would like to apologize to our fans for such a result," Fursenko said in the statement. 

"I have taken a difficult decision — to step down as head of the Russian Football Union."

Russia fell out of the UEFA championships in the group stage after a shock 1-0 defeat at the hands of Greece, leading to widespread criticism – and apparently the resignation – of Fursenko.

“Football & politics should be separated,” Van Seggelen tweeted later Tuesday. 

“FIFA and UEFA must intervene, but I'm not optimistic.”

FIFA statutes prohibit any government interference in FA affairs.

Fursenko's resignation leaves a big job to fill at the Russian FA, as preparations move up a gear for the 2018 World Cup. FIFA will be concerned about the outbreaks of Russian fan violence at Euro 2012; racism is another problem that has to be dealt with in the nation's domestic football leagues.

One of the first tasks for Fursenko's replacement will be to crack down on the unruly behaviour of fans in Russian football that is giving the country a bad name.


Iraqi Blast Kills 9 Young Footballers

FIFA vice president Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein says he's "appalled" by Tuesday’s bomb attack in Iraq that killed nine young footballers and injured more than 30 other players and fans.

The blast reportedly detonated near a pitch in the city of Hilla, 100 km south of Baghdad, where two youth teams had wrapped up a match minutes before.

According to a local health official, all the dead and injured were between 15 and 20 years old. 

"Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and loved ones as well as the Iraqi football family which has faced many challenges in recent years in rebuilding football in Iraq and giving Iraqi youth hope for a peaceful future," Prince Ali said in a statement.

"We in Jordan and West Asia are always ready to assist our Iraqi brothers in any way possible," added the FIFA VP, who is also president of both the Jordan Football Association and the West Asian Football Federation.

Russia, Spain Charged by UEFA for Racist Chants

UEFA is yet again charging the Russian Football Union for improper fan behavior at Euro 2012.
It's the second time during Euro 2012 that Mario Balotelli has been the target of alleged racist chants by fans. (Getty Images)

It’s the fourth time for Russia, who’s already earned fines from all three of its group matches for offences such as throwing fireworks, displaying illicit banners and even invading the pitch.

This time around, UEFA is probing allegations of racist abuse by Russian fans against Czech Republic defender Theodor Gebre Selassie, whose father is Ethiopian. 

UEFA has also opened an investigation against the Royal Spanish Football Federation for the same crime, in Spain’s case against Italian striker Mario Balotelli, who is of Ghanaian descent.

Croatia’s FA was already fined last week after its fans made monkey noises at Balotelli during a June 14 match in Poznan, Poland.


By INSIDER's Matthew Grayson

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