Last Thursday, Malaysian Airlines Fight 17 was shot down, allegedly by the Donetsk People's Republic, a pro-Russian separatist group which currently controls much of eastern Ukraine. U.S. intelligence believes that Russia provided the separatists with missiles. Yet, even as evidence mounts implicating Russia in the MH17 shooting, no new economic sanctions have been issued. Instead, the global community is going after Russia's role as the host of the 2018 World Cup.
Peter Beuth, interior minister of the German state of Hesse, has said, "If Putin doesn’t actively cooperate on clearing up the plane crash, the soccer World Cup in Russia in 2018 is unimaginable." Michael Fuchs, a senior leader in Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats party agreed, saying, "FIFA football association should think about whether Moscow is an appropriate host if it can’t even guarantee safe airways."
This comes just days after six players of the Donetsk soccer team refused to leave France after a match and board a plane back to Ukraine.
The Netherlands Football Association is also suggesting the 2018 World Cup could be moved. The vast majority of passengers onboard MH17 were Dutch. They issued this statement:
The Dutch football association is aware that a future World Cup in Russia stirs great emotion among all football lovers and the next of kin in the Netherlands. Standing still to remember our enormous loss is now the priority. The association believes it is more appropriate to conduct a discussion over a future World Cup in Russia at a later moment, once the investigation into the disaster has been completed."
The calls echo similar sentiments earlier this year to move or boycott the Sochi Winter Olympics after Moscow passed a controversial anti-gay law. While the world calls for World Cup 2018 to be moved, FIFA has not yet issued a statement on the matter. The Wire contacted FIFA for more information, and will update if we receive a reply. We have also reached out to a variety of FIFA sponsors to understand if they will participate in World Cup 2018, if it remains in Russia.
This article was originally published at http://www.thewire.com/global/2014/07/no-one-wants-russia-to-host-world-cup-2018/374921/