Will FIFA Really Let an Accomplice to Murder Host the World Cup?
Politics and sports shouldn't mix. Period.
But it does, and probably always will.
Nazi Germany looked stupid attempting it in 1936. Point well taken, Jesse Owens.
*Note: While RT is owned by the Russian government, this report appeared in 1999 when Boris Yeltsin was still premier and glasnost allegedly was in full bloom. While its general details are accurate, viewers -- as always -- should take note of the perspective.
Soviet bloc Olympic teams -- steroids and all -- may have provided a powerful image to the world, but there's still no Soviet Union anymore.
As long as international competition is formatted with national teams, the intrustion of politics is unavoidable.
However, mixing sports and high crime is another matter.
Such as preparing to hold the 2018 World Cup in a nation whose poobah aided and abetted mass murder in a form that any rational human would recognize as a pure, unmitigated, unthinkable slaughter of innocents.
More to the point, why the hell are they shooting at something they can't identify? And how did an alleged rag-tag band of rebels get such sophisticated weaponry? And where did it go afterward?
Rhetorical questions, actually.
It went back to where that czar wannabe, Vladimir Putin -- seemingly intent on re-building the old Soviet empire -- keeps all the toys he deploys to tease the Ukraine in his latest attempt at land-grabbing. And he's on Front Street in this one. There is no doubt he authorized and condoned deploying the anti-aircraft system that blasted MH17 out of the sky. There is no way he is not a murderer.
And like Rodion Raskolnikov -- Dostoevsky's lead character in Crime & Punishment -- Putin believes he is entitled to live beyond the law for the good of Greater Russia.
Well, here's one strong suggestion for FIFA: Pull the 2018 World Cup from the Russians.
International leaders can do whatever the hell it is they're going to decide. If anything. In the meantime, the governing body of world football -- in all of its pompous, self-righteous, greedy glory -- can easily take the unilateral action of jerking the globe's largest sporting event from a national leader who's done nothing but bleat excuses for this outrage that are so bogus, even spoiled tykes would be embarrassed to blurt them out.
Putin splashed out an incredible $50billion to build a venue for the Sochi Olympics and didn't really care about the aftermath. He so badly wanted to see Russia reclaim a hockey gold medal -- which was virtually its birthright during the Soviet days -- that it's amazing he didn't find a way to have head coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov mysteriously liquidated when it didn't happen.
Don't think losing the 2018 World Cup wouldn't sting deeply. Every sports fan understands the irrationality of following a favorite team. Well, that's Putin, too, but on a much larger scale. He proved he could give a damn about money by shrugging off the Socihi price tag. He could care even less what sanctions might do to the great unwashed inside his borders. All he cares about are the oligarchs who support him in Russia's robber baron economy.
And he cares intensely about sports. Especially hockey and football.
For once in its sorry existence, FIFA has a golden opportunity to do the right thing. It should call Russia into account, and when Putin's flunkies spew bile -- as they certainly will -- they should be put on notice. If Russia doesn't take full responsibility for the murders its proxies and soldiers committed -- don't think a few drunk rebels could operate those anti-aircraft launchers without skilled supervision -- then drop the hammer.
France, Germany, England, or anywhere in Western Europe could stage the 2018 World Cup on less than four years' notice. Let them.
Just don't re-locate it to countries so close to Russia that they can be annexed.