FIFA rejects calls to strip Russia of World Cup

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...

FIFA rejects calls to strip Russia of World Cup
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) visits the construction site of a new football stadium, one of the future venues of the 2018 World Cup, in the Volga River city of Samara 868 km (539 miles) southeast of Moscow, on July 21, 2014, with the 2018 World Cup Russia Local Organising Committee chairman, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko (R), attending the ceremony. Last week US Republican lawmakers urged tougher sanctions on Moscow after a Malaysian jet crash in Ukraine was blamed on Russian-backed separatists, with one congressman even bringing the World Cup into play. Russia is due to host the 2018 rendition of the massive soccer tournament -- seen as the country's most ambitious project since the fall of the Soviet Union -- with Putin recently vowing it would be 'an unforgettable football feast.' AFP PHOTO / RIA-NOVOSTI / POOL/ ALEXEI NIKOLSKY (Photo credit should read ALEXEI NIKOLSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, third right, and FIFA President Sepp Blatter, second right, attend a meeting on preparation for the 2018 World Cup in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014. Putin and Blatter on Tuesday visited the Luzhniki Stadium which is under reconstruction for the final of the 2018 World Cup. At right is Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Mikhail Klimentyev, Presidential Press Service)
People watch as the facade of the historical Bolshoi Theatre is illuminated with the official emblem of the 2018 FIFA World Cup to be held in Russia in central Moscow on late October 28, 2014. World football boss Sepp Blatter on Tuesday opposed any boycott of the 2018 World Cup in Russia and backed the huge preparations undertaken by President Vladimir Putin's government for the mega event. AFP PHOTO/KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV (Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)
From left to right:- Russian Sport Minister Vitaly Mutko, Moscow's Mayor Sergey Sobyanin, Russian President Vladimir Putin and FIFA President Sepp Blatter look at the model of Luzhniki stadium during their inspection in Moscow on October 28, 2014. World football boss Sepp Blatter opposes any boycott of the 2018 World Cup in Russia and backed the huge preparations undertaken by President Vladimir Putin's government for the mega event. AFP PHOTO / RIA NOVOSTI / KREMLIN POOL / MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV (Photo credit should read MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/AFP/Getty Images)
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) speaks during his visit to the construction site of new football stadium, one of the future venues of the 2018 World Cup, in the Volga River city of Samara 868 km (539 miles) southeast of Moscow, on July 21, 2014. Last week US Republican lawmakers urged tougher sanctions on Moscow after a Malaysian jet crash in Ukraine was blamed on Russian-backed separatists, with one congressman even bringing the World Cup into play. Russia is due to host the 2018 rendition of the massive soccer tournament -- seen as the country's most ambitious project since the fall of the Soviet Union -- with Putin recently vowing it would be 'an unforgettable football feast.' AFP PHOTO / RIA-NOVOSTI / POOL/ ALEXEI NIKOLSKY (Photo credit should read ALEXEI NIKOLSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION


ZURICH (AP) - FIFA rejected calls to move the 2018 World Cup from Russia, saying the tournament "can achieve positive change."

Russia's alleged involvement in shooting down a Malaysia Airlines plane over Ukraine last week prompted calls from some lawmakers in Germany to review the country's hosting rights.

On Friday, FIFA issued a statement saying it "deplores any form of violence" and questioning the purpose of relocating the sport's showcase tournament.

"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," FIFA said, adding that global attention on the World Cup "can be a powerful catalyst for constructive dialogue between people and governments."

The conflict between Ukraine and pro-Russia separatist rebels escalated days after the World Cup ended in Brazil.

On July 13 in Rio de Janeiro, Russian President Vladimir Putin attended a World Cup hosting handover ceremony with Brazilian counterpart Dilma Rousseff. Both then sat next to FIFA President Sepp Blatter to watch the final at the Maracana Stadium, won by Germany.

FIFA, which has Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko on its executive committee, said a World Cup in the country "can be a force for good."

"FIFA believes this will be the case for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia," the governing body said.

Blatter already rejected calls to strip Russia of the tournament after it annexed the Crimea this year.

"The World Cup has been given and voted to Russia and we are going forward with our work," Blatter said in March.

In a separate statement Friday, Mutko said a U.S.-led boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics had been a mistake.

"So there's no sense in reacting to politicians trying to make names for themselves," Mutko was quoted saying by Russian news agency R-Sport. "We're preparing in a calm way, building facilities, getting ready for the World Cup."

Russia has announced a $20 billion budget for building and renovating 12 stadiums, and other construction projects, for the first World Cup in Eastern Europe.

"FIFA has stated many times that sport should be outside politics," Mutko said. "Hosting an event like this, we're doing it for athletes from all over the world, for footballers, for the fans."

Read Full Story

People are Reading