US senators want Russia removed as 2018 World Cup host
Senators say its ‘unacceptable’ for FIFA to award Word Cup to a country that does not respect its principles and international law

A group of U.S. senators urged FIFA to consider replacing Russia as host of the 2018 FIFA World Cup because of its role in the Ukraine crisis and its occupation of Crimea.

Thirteen Democratic and Republican lawmakers asked football’s international governing body to convene a special meeting to consider the proposal.

"Allowing Russia to host the FIFA World Cup inappropriately bolsters the prestige of the (Vladimir) Putin regime at a time when it should be condemned and provides economic relief at a time when much of the international community is imposing economic sanctions," the senators wrote to FIFA President Sepp Blatter.

The lawmakers "strongly encouraged" FIFA to take steps toward the goal of ending the crisis in Ukraine while moving the global competition.

Russia, since the armed conflict began in early 2014, has supported Ukrainian separatists fighting Ukrainian forces in eastern Ukraine where the separatist have declared the independence of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Russia also annexed the Crimean Peninsula in last March shortly after the peninsula declared independence from Ukraine.

As more than 40 countries, all FIFA members, have implemented sanctions on Russia in an effort to end the conflict, the senators said that it is "unacceptable" for FIFA to award the 2018 competition to a country that does not respect the shared principles of FIFA and international law.

The lead signers were Sen. Robert Menendez, Democrat ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Senator Ron Johnson, the Republican chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Europe.

Republican Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, also signed the letter, as well as Sen. Richard Durbin, the second ranking Democrat in the Senate.

A copy of the letter was also sent to the United States Soccer Federation.

Last Modified: 2015-04-03 08:35:22
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