Two US Senators Asking FIFA to Move 2018 World Cup out of Russia

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IMarch 7, 2014

Pro-Putin demonstrators wave Russian national flags as they gather towards to Red Square in Moscow, Russia, Friday, March 7, 2014, with Spassky Tower, left, and St. Basile Cathedral, right, are in the background. Russia rallied support Friday for a Crimean bid to secede from Ukraine, with a leader of Russia’s parliament assuring her Crimean counterpart that the region would be welcomed as “an absolutely equal subject of the Russian Federation.” Across Red Square, 65,000 people waved Russian flags, chanting “Crimea is Russia!”(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Alexander Zemlianichenko/Associated Press

Updates from Tuesday, Mar. 11

Russian politicians have responded to the request of two United States senators who have asked that FIFA move the 2018 World Cup out of Russia (via Dmitriy Rogovitskiyt of Reuters):

Two Russian politicians are demanding the United States be kicked out of this year's World Cup and has its membership of world soccer's governing body FIFA terminated.

The petition to FIFA was made by Aleksandr Sidyakin and Mikhail Markelov, deputies from the Russian State Duma, which is the country's lower parliament house.

The politicians cite aggressive actions against Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya as well as attempts to encroach on Syria, as reasons for asking for the ban.

Original Text

Rising tensions in Ukraine have spilled over into the sports world, where two United States senators have begun the push to strip Russia of its FIFA membership and move the 2018 World Cup to a new site, according to

A pair of Republican U.S. senators reportedly sent a letter to FIFA president Joseph "Sepp" Blatter on Friday detailing their request. Senators Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Dan Coats (R-Ind.) justified their request by highlighting Russia's involvement in Ukraine and what they labeled a "military occupation of a sovereign Ukraine."

The following excerpt from the letter sums up the senators' motivation and ultimate goal, per The Wall Street Journal's Michael R. Crittenden:

Since Russia has similarly displayed a brazen disrespect for fundamental principles of FIFA and international law, I hope you will agree that it doesn’t deserve the honor of either hosting the World Cup or participating in one.

According to, the letter also asks that Russia be banned from competing in the 2014 World Cup set to kick off this June in Brazil. Russia qualified last fall and was drawn into Group H along with Algeria, Belgium and South Korea in early December.

As far as the 2018 World Cup is concerned, the two senators requested that a "more deserving" host be considered ahead of Russia.

In December 2010 FIFA awarded the 2018 World Cup to Russia, which hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics last month.

Ivan Sekretarev/Associated Press

In the letter, the two politicians reference Article 3 of the FIFA Statutes to support their argument, citing the organization's decision to ban Yugoslavia from the 1992 European Championship and the 1994 World Cup.

The article, titled "Non-discrimination and stance against racism," states, "Discrimination of any kind against a country, private person or group of people" for factors such as race or religion "is strictly prohibited and punishable by suspension or expulsion," per

It remains to be seen what impact the letter will have on Russia's FIFA membership status and future hosting rights. However, it's become clear that escalating tensions in Ukraine have affected the country's perception worldwide.

Only time will tell whether the push to penalize Russia on the pitch will gain momentum. But for now, it appears Blatter and his colleagues will have plenty to consider in the coming weeks ahead of World Cup 2014.


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