Malaysia Airlines MH17: Russian International Condemnation Extends to 2018 World Cup
By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | July 28, 2014 11:11 AM EST
The international global community led by the U.K. wants the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) to take away from Russia the opportunity to host the 2018 World Cup. Vladimir Putin's country is already facing a slew of economic sanctions due to its alleged involvement in the downing of Malaysia Airlines MH17.
REUTERS/RIA Novosti/Alexei Nik
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (2nd L) talks to people as he visits a construction site of the stadium which is expected to host soccer matches of the 2018 World Cup in the city of Samara, July 21, 2014. Russia will host the 2018 World Cup in 12 stadiums in 11 cities, with Games being played at two stadiums in Moscow. Others are Volgograd, which was hit by two suicide bombings that killed 32 people plus the bombers in December, Kazan, Samara, Sochi, Saransk, St Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod and Rostov-on-Don, near the border with Ukraine. REUTERS/RIA Novosti/Alexei Nikolskyi/Kremlin (RUSSIA - Tags: POLITICS SPORT SOCCER BUSINESS CONSTRUCTION) ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said it's "unthinkable" that the World Cup in 2018 will occur in Russia, the country solely and strongly blamed by the Western world as the culprit for the death of 298 people on board MH17 simply because the arms it had supplied to the separatist rebels had been mistakenly used.
Brazil just recently concluded the 2014 World Cup, where Germany emerged as the overall winner.
"You can't have this - the beautiful game - marred by the ugly aggression of Russia on the Russian Ukrainian border," Clegg told the Sunday Times newspaper. "Not only would Vladimir Putin exploit it, I think it would make the rest of the world look so weak and so insincere about our protestations about Vladimir Putin's behaviour if we're not prepared to pull the plug."
Where or which country he thinks should host the international football games four years from now? Where else but Britain.
"We've got the stadiums, we've got the infrastructure, and we've got the public backing and enthusiasm to host it," he said. "That's a decision for other people. But I'm not saying this just as a, sort of, British land grab to snatch the World Cup from under Vladimir Putin's nose."
The leaders of the EU has agreed to enforce economic sanctions against Russian arms, energy and financial sectors if it continues to destabilize Ukraine.
Global football experts however said that despite the rather emotional call against Russia for the 2018 World Cup, sports sanctions are hardly recognized.
"Sports boycotts have rarely achieved anything, and that's why I think nothing of such a proposal," Theo Zwanziger, a FIFA executive committee member and former president of German football body DFB, told Handelsblatt Online.
But Clegg stressed the proposed sports boycott would strike a strong message to Putin that he can't go disturbing peace and harmony in one country and then enjoin other countries to events his country will host. "Vladimir Putin himself has to understand that he can't have his cake and eat it," Clegg said.
"He can't constantly, you know, push the patience of the international community beyond breaking point, destabilise a neighbouring country, protect these armed separatists in the east of Ukraine and still have the privilege and honour of receiving all the accolades in 2018 for being the host nation of the World Cup."
"That's why I've come to the view that if he doesn't change course it's just not on, the idea that Russia will host the World Cup in 2018.
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