German Lawmakers Raise Doubts About Russia Hosting 2018 FIFA World Cup
Several senior German lawmakers have raised the possibility of stripping Russia of its right to host the 2018 World Cup and the national football federation said that "it was very worried about events following the downing of a passenger plane over Ukraine," according to Madeline Chambers of REUTERS. Michael Fuchs, deputy head of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative bloc in the German parliament, said that taking away Russia's right to hold the football tournament "may have a significantly greater impact than more economic sanctions." Fuchs: "The FIFA football association should think about whether Moscow is an appropriate host if it can't even guarantee safe airways." It "would be unprecedented for the footballing world to deprive a country of hosting the World Cup once it has been awarded." Russia "was selected in 2010 to host the event." Interior Minister of the state of Hesse Peter Beuth said staging the World Cup in Russia in '18 would be "unimaginable" if Russian President Vladimir Putin did not actively cooperate with the crash investigation. A member of Bavaria's conservative Christian Social Union, Stephan Mayer, said withdrawing the World Cup from Russia "should not be taboo." FIFA said earlier this week that "it could not comment." German FIFA Exec Committee member Theo Zwanziger "played down the possibility of moving the tournament." Zwanziger: "The World Cup has been awarded to Russia, contracts have been signed and rights issued. Sport must go places even if it is painful" (REUTERS, 7/23).