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]>> They lifted a World Cup trophy of sorts at the weekend. But now this team of ethnic Hungarian soccer players is facing an investigation by the Ukrainian authorities for what they're calling an act of sporting separatism.>>
They represent a Hungarian minority from the Zakarpattia Oblast region of Western Ukraine. But on Monday, Ukrainian Sports Minister Ihor Zhdanov cried foul, calling on the security services to respond appropriately, and for the team organizers to be investigated over any ties with separatists or terrorist groups.>>
Ukraine's Soccer Federation also said it may ban Karpatalja players from official and amateur matches. Geneva said it was alarmed by the move. Adding that to the best of its knowledge, the team has never expressed any separatist sentiments. Speaking to Reuters last week, CONIFA said everybody should have the right to represent their identity through sports.
>> By allowing people to play under these banners, with these shirts on, we're not making a statement on statehood or autonomy. All we're saying is simply, you tell us who you are. We'll allow you to represent our identity.>> Ukraine, which has called for a boycott of the FIFA World Cup in Russia, has been batting a Russian backed insurgency in it's Eastern Donbass region.
But it has also squabbled with its other neighbors over the rights of its Romanian, Polish, and Hungarian minorities.>>