In light of Russia’s recent decision to invade Ukraine’s Crimea region, two Republican senators have called for FIFA President Sepp Blatter to exclude Russia from the 2014 World Cup and to switch locales for Russia’s 2018 World Cup.
Senators Mark Kirk of Illinois and Dan Coates of Indiana insisted in a letter to Blatter last week via the Guardian that Russia “doesn’t deserve the honor of either hosting the World Cup or participating in one.”
As precedent, the Senators cited the Yugoslav wars, which consequently banned Yugoslavia from the 1992 European Championships and the 1994 World Cup.
The letter read, in part:
“In light of Russia’s military occupation of sovereign Ukraine, we respectfully ask that you urgently convene an emergency session of FIFA to consider suspending Russia’s membership in FIFA, stripping Russia of the right to host the 2018 World Cup, and denying the Russian national team the right to participate in the upcoming 2014 World Cup in Brazil.”
“Since Russia has similarly displayed a brazen disrespect for fundamental principles of FIFA and international law, I hope you will agree that it does not deserve the honor of either hosting the World Cup or participating in one. We ask that a more deserving World Cup 2018 bid should be re-considered instead.”
Unsurprisingly, this didn’t sit well with Russian politicians, who responded with their own scathing retort – using the exact same wording as did the US politicians.
Russia’s response read:
“In light of US’s military aggression against several sovereign states such as Yugoslavia with no particular reason; Iraq and Libya — alleged search chemical weapons; attempt to invade and occupy Syria and numerous cases of human rights violations all over the world revealed by E. Snowden, we respectfully ask that you urgently convene an emergency session of FIFA to consider suspending US’s membership in FIFA, and denying the United States team the right to participate in the upcoming 2014 World Cup in Brazil.”
Russia was drawn into Group H for this summer’s tournament and will face Belgium, Algeria and South Korea. The US has a significantly harder task against Germany, Portugal and Ghana.