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Stripping Russia of World Cup 2018? Germany makes the argument

Jul 23, 2014, 5:01 PM EDT

germany celebrate AP

With unrest in the Ukraine magnifying this week after the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH 17, the Guardian is reporting that German politicians have raised the possibility of stripping Russia of the right to host the 2018 World Cup.

The shouts come from several members in German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling conservative party after Western countries blamed pro-Russian separatists for shooting down the aircraft and killing 298 people.

With the European Union contemplating harsh economic sanctions on Russia it is now Germany’s belief that removing Russia’s right to hold the soccer tournament could be an even more impactful move.

Michael Fuchs, deputy head of the conservative bloc in the German parliament, told Handelsblatt Online that “Fifa should think about whether Moscow is an appropriate host if it can’t even guarantee safe airways.”

Removing the tournament from Russia is also a move Germany favors because they argue that economic sanctions on Russia could be difficult to implement due to Russia’s long borders while German trade associations fear such sanctions could hurt business between Russia and Germany.

Peter Beuth,the interior minister of the state of Hesse, told German newspaper Bild: “If [Russian President Vladimir] Putin doesn’t actively cooperate on clearing up the plane crash, the soccer World Cup in Russia in 2018 is unimaginable.”

But for the Netherlands, where the majority of the MH 17 victims came from, stripping Russia of the World Cup is a measure that needs investigating:

“The Dutch football association is aware that a future World Cup in Russia stirs great emotion among all football fans and relatives in the Netherlands,” the Dutch football association said in a statement. “The association believes it is more appropriate to conduct a discussion over a future World Cup in Russia at a later moment, once the investigation into the disaster has been completed.”

So, if Russia is to be denied the right to host World Cup 2018 where would the tournament be held?

According to Fuchs, Germany and France would be happy to take over.

  1. stirged - Jul 23, 2014 at 5:17 PM

    Is that something they could even do? FIFA is non-political and takes the politicizing of football very seriously. Just look at the issue in Nigeria. I would think any action by politicians to force a World Cup movement would end up with that country suspended.

    I don’t see FIFA even taking a look at this either. 4000 estimated worker deaths by 2022 isn’t doing anything regarding Qatar, so why move this.

    If they want to apply the screws to FIFA, they have to convince several EU national teams to voluntarily boycott and not enter qualifying. You hit FIFA in the pocketbook, they might listen, but who would have the gall to volunteer to do that.

    • lyleoross - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:23 PM

      By apply screws do you mean offer a bribe? As for who would have the gall, well, pretty much everyone.

      Speaking frankly, Germany offers this up because, well, they want the WC. The Netherlands approach is a more valid one. Your point that FIFA is unlikely to move is very valid, but I guarantee that if Germany put up enough cash, FIFA would view Russia as the evil empire in a hurry.

  2. patriotsdefense - Jul 23, 2014 at 5:19 PM

    Why should it go to Germany if it is stripped? They hosted in 2006 and France hosted in 1998. If anything, it should go to England or the Netherlands. England hasn’t hosted since ’66 and the Netherlands has never.

    Also, Germany hosted Women’s World Cup in 2011 and France is slated to host Women’s World Cup 2019

    • swanpride - Jul 23, 2014 at 6:48 PM

      That’s exactly the reason why they are the best solution. Four years are simply not enough time to build the infrastructure necessary to host such an event, but Germany and France already have one which is up to standards in place.

      If it even happens. I honestly can’t remember of a host ever being outright stripped off the tournament. There have been cases in which the host itself admitted trouble, but the Fifa reacting for political reasons? Unless an outright war breaks out, I can’t see them doing it.

      • patriotsdefense - Jul 23, 2014 at 7:53 PM

        1986. It was stripped from Columbia after they originally won the voting. Weeks later in the revote they completely withdrew from bidding. Money issues and domestic turmoil. Mexico won the revote… other than that the WII era games were canceled due to the war.

        I don’t disagree with your reasoning, but England would be ready with little or no notice.

        Netherlands, on the other hand, your comment illustrates perfectly that hurdle. The Netherlands 2018 bid was a joint venture too, with Belgium. So, they likely would have stadium issues and hotel issues.

      • patriotsdefense - Jul 23, 2014 at 7:54 PM

        months later, not weeks. :-)

  3. quizguy66 - Jul 23, 2014 at 6:18 PM

    I believe the reason France and Germany were suggested was b/c they were the last 2 European hosts and thus would presumably need the least amount of infrastructure improvement on such short notice.

  4. quizguy66 - Jul 23, 2014 at 6:20 PM

    A similar think happened when Colombia pulled out of hosting the 1986 tournament and it was instead held in Mexico, the 1970 host. Colombia withdrew as host in November of 1982 and Mexico was named replacement host in May of 1983.

  5. jolink653 - Jul 23, 2014 at 6:31 PM

    How can Russia be trusted to hold such a tournament when they can’t even guarantee safe passage over the airspace that they’re responsible for? Imagine one team’s plane were to get shot down traveling to the tournament? That would be another disaster of epic proportions, and if they can’t control the pro-Russian separatists in the Ukraine, then no plane is safe in that region. I’m sure a lot of national soccer federations wouldn’t feel comfortable sending their national teams there, and after the disaster that the Olympics in Sochi wound up being, how can Russia be trusted to even be able to manage such a major event?

    Being German, obviously I would love to see them get the tournament again, but I wouldn’t mind if a country like England, Holland or Italy were to step in for 2018 to host. Four years is a long way off, but the situation in Eastern Europe could get even worse and every sanction, including stripping the World Cup, should be used to get Russia to calm things down

  6. bananaballs - Jul 23, 2014 at 7:12 PM

    What infrastructure would England need? They just hosted the Olympics and have world class soccer stadiums dotting the country.

  7. Matthew - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:46 PM

    Reblogged this on Carolina Mountain Blue and commented:
    For all the talk of Russia possibly being stripped of the 2018 World Cup, here’s another question: what the hell was FIFA thinking awarding Russia the 2018 World Cup in the first place?

    • swanpride - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:12 AM

      People seem to keep forgetting that the bid is awarded years in advance. When Russia got it, nobody could know that the thing with the Ukraine would blow up so badly (similar when Brazil got it, it was before the crisis and it looked as if the country was on an upward spiral). I agree that they should pick countries which are more stable in general, but it is not like they are totally irresponsible. But there seems to be the idiotic idea that giving sporting events to countries on the brink as a positive effect on them.

      • lyleoross - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:25 PM

        True, but everyone knew that Russia had many other issues that should have impacted the bid, even when it was granted. Still, it isn’t like they’re Qatar…

  8. handsofsweed - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:44 AM

    Wait. If we’re talking about instant, first-rate ability to host the WC, then the United States should be the replacement before Germany or France. But England makes a hell of a lot of sense too.

    • lyleoross - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:30 PM

      Since the region was chosen, it should stay in that Region. Since France and Germany have both had it in the last ten years, England seems the better choice. Also, given England’s abysmal performance in recent WC action, this might be a way to inject some spunk in the ENT.

  9. 407magic - Jul 24, 2014 at 1:55 AM

    Colombia was a mess back then with the govt and it was the height of Escobar, public bombings etc… FIFA actually cared about human safety back then I guess.
    Now it’s all about how much $ they can pocket.

  10. rjbailey - Jul 24, 2014 at 8:17 AM

    Reblogged this on Locating Frankenstein's Brain.

  11. some1kj - Jul 24, 2014 at 11:23 AM

    Why on earth FIFA should be rewarding Russia with the 2018 World Cup in light of Putin’s criminal actions in the Ukraine and the shooting down of a civilian airline? Both choices of the next two World Cup venues are so corrupt. FIFA should have the spine to pull the World Cup from Russia and Qatar, right now. If FIFA does not act, then those countries whose citizens were murdered by Putin’s thugs should announce their intent to boycott the 2018 World Cup if held in Russia.

    • lyleoross - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:31 PM

      Because FIFA doesn’t look at crime or international misbehavior when they hand out the WC, they look at the bribe you’ve given them.

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