Over the past year, Russia has become one of the most isolated countries in the world. In the wake of the downed Malaysian Airlines flight -- a flight that may have been shot down by weapons supplied by the Russian government -- the country has become even more obstinate. President Obama even went so far as to say that the Russian government was “culpable” in bringing the plane down, and the European Union and the United States have both issued tough new sanctions on Russia.
This is just the latest controversy with Russia. From an invasion of Ukraine territory, to brutal crackdowns on human rights and gay rights, to even banning American families from adopting Russian children, Russia has sent a loud and clear message that it can’t cooperate on the global stage. So why does FIFA continue to plan to host the 2018 World Cup -- soccer’s biggest tournament and one of the world’s largest sporting events -- in Russia?
That’s why I’m asking you to join me and thousands of others, urging FIFA to relocate the 2018 World Cup from Russia.
Putting soccer’s pinnacle event in a nation like Russia is a slap in the face to the sport, and rewards the actions of Russian President Vladimir Putin at a time when the global community continues to place sanctions on his regime.
Already, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators have written FIFA urging them to relocate the World Cup from Russia. And global soccer star Yaya Toure said that as a result of racial abuse he faced recently at a game in Moscow, he would boycott the tournament if things did not change in Russia.
The World Cup is meant to be a celebration not just of soccer, but the incredible diversity that exists around the planet. Whether black or white or gay or straight or however you identify, you should not feel threatened to celebrate yourself and this beautiful game that unites the world. But that clearly won’t be the case for millions if Russia is allowed to host the 2018 World Cup, and Russia will be rewarded despite its actions in Ukraine and in the immediate aftermath of the Malaysian Airlines disaster.
Please join me in calling on FIFA to relocate the World Cup from Russia in 2018, and to send a message to Russia that there will be consequences for its recent actions.