Fifa has expressed regret after its video launching the logo for the 2018 World Cup showed the disputed Crimean peninsula as part of Russia.
The video, broadcast as the logo was beamed on to Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre on Tuesday, included a map of the host nation Russia, including Crimea.
The clip was commissioned by Russia’s World Cup organising committee from a “local creative agency” and has now been edited to remove the “short sequence in question”, Fifa said.
Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula in March despite fierce opposition from many Western governments. The Ukrainian government still claims Crimea as part of its territory.
The original video has been removed from Fifa’s YouTube channel and replaced with an edited version excluding the two-second sequence in which the map of Russia was shown.
The film was part of a light show used to display the World Cup 2018 emblem on the Bolshoi theatre after it was unveiled by Russian cosmonauts on national TV.
The video was shown at a time when Fifa and Uefa are jointly mediating deadlocked talks between the Russian and Ukrainian football authorities over the status of Crimea’s clubs. Uefa ruled in August it would not recognise matches played by three Crimean clubs absorbed into the Russian league system.
The video angered some Ukrainian commentators. Markiyan Lubkivskiy, who directed Ukraine’s preparations to host Euro 2012 and is now an adviser to the head of the Ukrainian security services, called for legal action in an online post and suggested the video could aid the cause of pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine.
“Lawyers, get ready,” he wrote. “If we don’t react toughly to things like this, then soon nothing will be left of us.”
The Ukrainian Football Federation did not immediately respond to a request for comment.