Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called for a boycott of the 2018 World Cup in Russia if Moscow does not remove troops from east Ukraine.
“I think there has to be discussion of a boycott of this World Cup,” declared Poroshenko. “As long as there are Russian troops in Ukraine I think a World Cup in that country is unthinkable.”
Translation: While Russian troops are in Ukraine, I believe that the FIFA World Cup in that country is impossible!
Допоки російські війська перебувають в Україні, я вважаю, що Чемпіонат світу з футболу в цій країні неможливий! pic.twitter.com/5s3LdoWRZ3
— Петро Порошенко (@poroshenko) March 16, 2015
The one-year-old war between Ukraine and Russia killed over 6,000 people. It took a year, but the European Union and the U.S. finally admitted Russian soldiers are fighting in east Ukraine. Poroshenko made the remarks while in Germany to meet with German Chancellor Angele Merkel. German publication Bild asked Merkel about the World Cup.
“I am focusing now time to the year 2015 and since we have our hands full trying to implement the first Minsk package,” replied Merkel. “Depending we will make the 2016 first and then comes the next European Football Championship, which I’m looking forward to.”
FIFA immediately dismissed Poroshenko’s concerns. Former FIFA Vice President Vyacheslav Koloskov said Poroshenko’s plea for a boycott will not work, much like the calls to boycott the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics failed.
“[FIFA President] Sepp Blatter often says that politics is politics and football is football,” said Koloskov. “Of course he will not allow a boycott to happen. In Ukraine they don’t know anymore what they are trying to achieve. First one thing, then another, then a third thing. We will host the 2018 World Cup and we will host it well.”
Moscow decided to host matches in “12 stadiums in 11 Russian cities, including Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Sochi.” Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the 2018 World Cup will be the best in history.
“Russia has repeatedly demonstrated that it is capable of organizing and holding the best sporting and other events,” announced Peskov. “We have no doubt that the World Cup in Russia will go down in history of world soccer as one of the best championships.”
The world can only hope Russia does a better job than the Sochi Olympics. Moscow spent over $51 billion dollars for the games, which included roads, railways, power plants, and hotels. However, money does not make a difference when winter games are hosted in a humid subtropical climate like Sochi. The warm and humid conditions caused numerous problems for the winter games. Authorities filled stadiums with volunteers since spectators were scarce. The hotels and accommodations were not ready by the time the games started. It was so bad the twitter account @SochiEpicFails and hashtag #SochiProblems were formed.
— Johnny Quinn (@JohnnyQuinnUSA) February 8, 2014
— Johnny Quinn (@JohnnyQuinnUSA) February 10, 2014
Hopefully no one encounters these problems in 2018.