In a reciprocal move, Russian politicians have have requested that FIFA revoke membership for the United States. Two members of separate parties have asked for immediate membership termination which would mean the USMNT would be unable to compete in the World Cup. To be fair, they did not start this battle, and it is a shame that even more political battling is a part of the competition given the volatile climate of the host country.
Deputies from the Russian State Duma from the United Russia and Fair Russia parties have written official letters for FIFA requesting the termination. The letters from Aleksandr Sidyakin and Mikhail Markelov mention actions against Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya as ground for the U.S. ban. They also talk about the current U.S. outlook on the conflict in Syria. Sidyakin’s letter also notes human rights violations as cited by NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden.
— Александр Сидякин (@A_Sidyakin) March 11, 2014
The rough translation of the above tweet from Sidyakin is as follows:
An eye for an eye, a ball for a ball Do not allow the U.S. to participate in the World Cup futbolu2014! Denying membership in FIFA
The ending to Sidyakin’s letter is well written, saying the U.S. has a “brazen disrespect for the fundamental principles of FIFA” in calling for timely action. This request is a response to U.S. Senators Mark Kirk and Dan Coates submissions to FIFA requesting a Russian ban from this year’s World Cup. Kirk and Coates also asked for FIFA to strip the 2018 World Cup from Russian soil. Coates actually compared Russian territorial ambitions to that of Nazi Germany.
As if the protests, violence and questions on revenue in the host country of Brazil were not enough for this year’s World Cup, now countries are battling for political positioning by requesting FIFA membership bans. This is today’s reminder that the World Cup may be about sport but has become much more than that. International and human rights are called into question through the soccer tournament creating a longing for simpler times just about the beautiful game.