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Ukraine's Soccer Federation To Shun FIFA Congress In Moscow

A Ukrainian serviceman throws a ball at a mannequin depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin dressed in a soccer uniform during a "Stop Putin. Stop war" rally in January.

A spokesman for Ukraine's soccer federation has said the organization will skip a meeting of world soccer's governing body scheduled to be held in Moscow this summer.

The AFP news agency quoted the spokesman as saying on April 25 that Kyiv planned to send the charge d'affaires at its Moscow Embassy to the FIFA Congress instead of soccer officials.

It was not immediately clear whether FIFA will accept a diplomat representing Ukraine instead of a member of the country's national federation.

Kyiv's relations with Moscow have been in tatters since Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea region in March 2014.

Russia has also supported separatists fighting government forces in eastern Ukraine, where more than 10,300 people have been killed since April 2014.

The June 12-13 FIFA Congress is set to award the 2026 World Cup hosting rights, with Morocco and a joint bid by the United States, Canada, and Mexico contending.

The gathering comes days ahead of the June 14-July 15 World Cup in Russia, for which Ukraine did not qualify.

The Ukrainian soccer federation in January decided not to send its officials to the tournament.

Based on reporting by AFP