With the eyes of the world continuing to look towards Russia nervously as their conflict with Ukraine rumbles on, the deputy prime minister of Great Britain, Nick Clegg, has called for the 2018 World Cup to be placed elsewhere to punish Vladimir Putin’s nation.
Both the 2018 tournament in Russia and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar are being questioned for a number of reasons and now more pressure has been placed on world soccer’s governing body to rethink their decision to award Russia the 2018 showpiece event.
FIFA have recently stated that the World Cup will remain in the Russia, but as conflicts rumble on as well as the uproar caused by the tragic Malaysian Airlines MH17 disaster, there is growing concern over Putin’s administration hosting the world in less than four years time.
Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats party in the UK, described Russia being stripped of the World Cup as being “a very potent political and symbolic sanction.” Downing Street also released a statement on the matter and called for Russia to “change course, before its international standing is damaged even further.” Clegg also went on to state the following when asked about Russia by the Sunday Times in the UK.
“If there’s one thing that Vladimir Putin cares about, as far as I can see, it’s his sense of status,” Clegg said. “Maybe reminding him that you can’t retain the same status in the world if you ignore the rest of the world, maybe that will have some effect on his thinking. Vladimir Putin himself has to understand that he can’t have his cake and eat it. He can’t constantly… push the patience of the international community beyond breaking point, destabilize a neighboring country, protect these armed separatists in the east of Ukraine and still have the privilege and honor of receiving all the accolades in 2018 for being the host nation of the World Cup.”
With countries such as Britain, the United States and Germany vying to step in for Russia if the 2018 World Cup is taken away from them, Clegg may have an ulterior motive here. Regardless, he brings up salient points about the kind of message it would send out to the rest of the world and the conflicts Russia are involved in.
How do you feel about Clegg’s comments and do you think Russia should be stripped of hosting the 2018 World Cup?