Poland Football Federation president Zbigniew Boniek has declared Russia unfit to host the 2018 World Cup thanks to its aggressions in eastern Europe and is asking FIFA to reconsider.
The 59-year-old former Serie A striker called continuing forward with the next World Cup “a disastrous mistake” thanks to recent attacks.
“Hosting the World Cup in Russia is a disastrous mistake, it’s a country engaged in war, who invaded another country,” Boniek said to Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza. “In 2010 when Fifa chose Russia to host the World Cup the situation was totally different. But now when Russia is at war with Ukraine? There should be a clause in the contract between Fifa and the host country that enables the executive committee to strip that country in the event of a war, or violating the charter of the United Nations.”
The issue is relevant given the upcoming gathering of the FIFA congress next week where the collective unit will elect a president for the next term.
Russia still lays claim to its annexation of Crimea, and separatists have taken control of parts of eastern Ukraine. As a result, this sentiment isn’t a new one. Last July, British politician Tracey Crouch said “I think Russia ought to be stripped now. There’s so much political uncertainty. Football could be used to put pressure on president Putin to change some of his practices. Russia was seemingly a democratic country when they won the bid. There are now sanctions against the country.”
In addition to concerns about the violence as well as international concerns about the country’s stance on certain human rights and equality issues, there are problems caused by vast Russian inflation over the past few years. It has caused cost-cutting across the board on Russia’s World Cup budget.