Nick Clegg has done something relatively useful and joined calls for Russia to be stripped of hosting the 2018 World Cup as part of tougher sanctions over the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.
Clegg told The Sunday Times that allowing the World Cup to go to Russia without a change of course by president Vladimir Putin would make the world look “weak and so insincere.”
The Deputy Prime Minister insisted that sporting events should be part of the package of sanctions and should also include the cancellation of Russia’s first Formula 1 Grand Prix which is due to take place in October, in Sochi.
Clegg said the threat of withdrawing the World Cup would be “a very potent political and symbolic sanction. If there’s one thing that Vladimir Putin cares about, as far as I can see, it’s his sense of status. 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.”
Fine words Mr Clegg, difficult to disagree, but as with most liberal ideas it’s well intentioned but not that realistic.
I doubt it’ll come as a surprise to most that FIFA also made an announcement stating they will not take the 2018 World Cup away from Russia.
FIFA explained that any form of boycotting a major sporting event is “not the most effective way to solve problems.”
“FIFA deplores any form of violence. History has shown so far that boycotting sport events or a policy of isolation or confrontation are not the most effective ways to solve problems. The World Cup can be a powerful catalyst for constructive dialogue between people and governments….FIFA believes this will be the case for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.”
It’ll take a lot more for FIFA to take any action but hopefully this will be the start of continued international pressure, but the closer we get to 2018, the less likely it will be to relocate the competition.
Frank Lampard was introduced to America the other day and took questions tweeted to the #AskLamps hashtag. This was always going to end well and the result was one of those moments which the internet was created for.