FIFA Bans Rock Singer From Performing At World Cup Over Pro-Russian Rebel Support

Mordovia Arena Stadium
Stanislav Krasilnikov\TASS via Getty Images

A view of Mordovia Arena Stadium, a venue of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. 

Controversy stirred in Russia as FIFA banned local rock singer Yulia Chicherina from performing for soccer World Cup fans over her support for pro-Russian rebels in East Ukraine.

Chicherina, 39, was supposed to perform for soccer fans in the South Russian city of Rostov-on-Don as part of the Fan Fest, but the international soccer body, FIFA, declined to issue her permission in a letter to local organizers of the Fan Fest.

"We are pretty concerned about possible media attention and consequent reputational risks for FIFA itself, the Fan Fest and the host city due to the latest performance of this artist related to military topic," a FIFA representative said in the letter, a scan of which was published on Chicherina's Facebook account.

"Any military, religious or political topics are strictly forbidden at FIFA events," reads the letter. "Even without having military songs performed at the FIFA Fan Stage, this artist is already associated with military topics."

"As you know, rock is rebel music, and now I'm officially banned," Chicherina commented sarcastically on her Facebook account, adding that she is not going to discuss anything with FIFA.

Chicherina is known for her support for pro-Russian rebels in East Ukraine. She has repeatedly performed for them and released a song, "Rvat (To Tear Up)" in support of their cause.

She also holds a passport of the unrecognized Lugansk People's Republic formed by the rebels.

Chicherina fans slammed FIFA's decision on the social media.

Meanwhile, the country's leading sports newspaper, Sport Express, reported that Chicherina already collected an advance payment of 500,000 rubles ($8,055) for her performance and has no intention to pay it back.

Eleven Russian cities are hosting the FIFA soccer World Cup from June 14 to July 15.


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