An open letter to FIFA regarding the 2018 World Cup

Although the 2014 World Cup in Brazil has just finished and supporters of die Nationalmannschaft are basking in the joy of Germany’s 4th championship, it’s not too early to look ahead and think about Germany defending its 4th championship in 2018. Supporters of die Mannschaft should already be excited about the players bursting through the pipeline of German talent. The future is thrilling. Perhaps, though, it is even more important to look ahead and remember where exactly the 2018 World Cup will be played: Russia. In light of recent international events, Russia’s role in hosting the 2018 World Cup should not go unnoticed.Contributor Jason Motz explains in his open letter to FIFA.

ATTN: Sepp Blatter, President of FIFA; Christine Maria Botta, Executive Office of the President; Jarome Valcke, General Secretary; Walter De Greorio, Communications & Public Affairs; Marco Villiger, legal affairs

Dear Sirs and Madame,

In light of damning evidence implicating the Russian government in the July 17th downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, I am asking FIFA to revoke the rights of Russia as hosts of the 2018 World Cup, as well as to reconsider Russia’s position within FIFA.

The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine highlights a recent, blighted streak emanating from Russia. President Vladimir Putin has shown no evidence of adhering to what those of us in democratic states would call inalienable human rights and virtues: from homophobic policies to the suppression of free speech, Putin has engendered a society that has grown increasingly Despotic, morally corrupt, and savage. The carnage in Grabove, Ukraine is clear evidence of a man whose policies are not attuned to those of FIFA.

Putin’s heavy-handed dealings with Ukraine and his open tolerance, if not actual support, of Russian rebels has crossed the boundaries of all decency, goodwill, and humanity. What more evidence of this man’s perfidy and lawlessness is needed before we say “enough”?

The destruction of a civilian aircraft and the barbarity that has erased 298 lives has pushed Russia far beyond any defensible positioning. And Putin’s inscrutable affectations of honour and innocence have grown into a tiresome facade. He is, let’s be frank, a punk. Moreover, he is jack-booted thug with an army at his command, whose conscience, conveniently, is clear of anything but his own self-aggrandizement. His folly — that being a strident sense of public immortality, which has blinded him to morality  — should not be FIFA’s equal undoing.

FIFA must demonstrate their ire and resolve on this issue with an immediateand direct response to Putin, the Russia 2018 Organizing Committee, and the Russian FA, specifically by:

I. Suspending all Russian football activities, including fixtures, transfers and day-to-day business for an indefinite period.

II. Revoking Russia’s rights as the host of the 2018 World Cup, as well as their right to bid on any future World Cup campaign.

III. Impose catastrophic sanctions against the Russian FA and the Russian 2018 World Cup Organizing Committee if they tamper with or threaten to upset any and all bids during the subsequent re-bidding process.

I recommend these measures as a starting point in responding to Russia’s recent actions. The weight of FIFA should be firm and constant in regard to the aforementioned parties, and should reflect the outrage felt by FIFA and concerned football fans alike.

No one entity, government, or individual should profit from the actions of July 17th, least of all Putin, the Russia 2018 Organizing Committee, and the sponsors of the World Cup. This includes you, FIFA.

Will FIFA stand beside a murderous, war-mongering, and corrupt government? Or will FIFA honour its own ethical standards and revoke Russia’s license to host the World Cup? How can FIFA carry out business in Russia under this cloud? Is the relationship (that is, projected profits of the 2018 games) between FIFA and Russia worth more than the 298 lost lives, the countless more families destroyed? And what of the Ukrainians who have been displaced because of Russia’s continual barrage? FIFA, your house is in disorder. You need to evict some tenants.

No PR campaign can undo the fate that befell Malaysian Airlines MH 17, or the callousness of such “rebel action.” Is this the environment in which FIFA would like to present their most-coveted quadrennial event? Putin’s actions contravene the very philosophy of FIFA, and allowing Russia the opportunity to stage the World Cup would be a scourge on the already speckled name of FIFA.

To allow Russia to host the 2018 World Cup would be an act of appeasement unheralded since the days of Chamberlain-Hitler. Is this the company FIFA wishes to keep? Is this the legacy FIFA wishes to be remembered for?

I should hope not.


Jason Motz

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