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.