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SBD Global/July 28, 2014/International Football

U.K. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg Says Russia Should Be Stripped Of World Cup

U.K. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg "has demanded that Russia be stripped of the right to host the 2018 World Cup following the shooting down of a Malaysia Airlines jet by Moscow-backed rebels," according to Shipman & Leppard of the SUNDAY TIMES. Clegg said it would be “unthinkable” for Putin to enjoy the prestige of hosting the global football tournament and called for “tougher sanctions” on Moscow. He said the Russian president’s behavior had "reached a tipping point" and was "beyond the pale in this day and age."  He warned that failure to “pull the plug on the World Cup” would “make the rest of the world look so weak and so insincere.” Clegg: “You can’t have the beautiful game marred by the ugly aggression of Russia on the Russian-Ukrainian border.” Clegg did not rule out targeting London-based oligarchs such as Chelsea Owner Roman Abramovich and Alisher Usmanov, "who has a large stake in Arsenal." He said, “We’re looking at all options and we’ll do so without fear or favor” (SUNDAY TIMES, 7/27). In London, Sam Coates wrote British PM David Cameron "has refused to join calls for Russia to be stripped" of hosting the Cup. A Downing Street spokesperson said: “The prime minister does not believe we should reach immediately for boycotts, but it is also not surprising, given Russian behaviour, that people are starting to raise the issue. It shows the importance of Russia changing course, before its international standing is damaged even further” (LONDON TIMES, 7/28). BLOOMBERG'S Sara Marley wrote FIFA said the 2018 World Cup in Russia can be “a force for good,” rejecting calls to boycott or move the tournament amid the crisis in Ukraine. In a statement, FIFA said, “The hosting of the FIFA World Cup with the global attention it attracts can be a powerful catalyst for constructive dialogue between people and governments. We have seen that the FIFA World Cup can be a force for good and FIFA believes this will be the case for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia” (BLOOMBERG, 7/25).
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