International Pressure Mounts To Strip Russia Of 2018 World Cup, Sochi Grand Prix
Earlier this week we discussed the propect of denying Russia the 2018 World Cup over the MH17 airline disaster, and outlined potential replacement hosts should that occur. But that’s merely been a media concept until now.
Today both members of British Parliament and Germany’s ruling conservative party spoke out to question Russia’s suitability to play host to the Cup. British MP Tracey Crouch, a member of the culture, media and sport select committee, called for Russia to be “stripped now” of the 2018 Cup. And Germany’s interior minister of the state of Hesse, Peter Beuth, told Bild Magazine that without Russian President Vladimir Putin’s active cooperation in investigating the plane crash, a World Cup in Russia in 2018 “is unimaginable.”
Crouch, who is also a qualified football coach, told The Times: “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.
“I’ve had long-term concerns about Russia’s human rights and views on homosexuality.”
But members of British Parliament also called for Russia to lose the Sochi Grand Prix “and any other F1 races scheduled there in the future.”
That seems unlikely, however. F1 President Bernie Ecclestone is a personal buddy with Putin, and has already said that he will honor his contract to stage the race in Sochi on Oct. 12. Ecclestone:
“Like I’ve said, we don’t get involved in politics. We have a contract with them, which we know they will respect. And we will do the same.”
The situation within the sport is particularly delicate because Malaysian energy company Petronas, title sponsors of Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes team, have established a £1.8million fund for the families of the 298 victims of the disaster.
More to come on this we’re sure.
READ: Does FIFA Have The Balls To Revoke Russia’s 2018 World Cup And Give It To A More Deserving Host? [SportsGrid]