Kick them out! MP demands Russia are banned from World Cup

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FIFA has come under immense pressure to ban Russia from the World Cup after last week’s invasion of Ukraine. Football’s world governing body announced Russia would still be allowed to play international football. Under a series of “initial measures” agreed by the FIFA council on Sunday, next month’s World Cup play-off between Russia and Poland would go ahead but at a neutral venue and with no spectators. Russia would also be forced to go by the name “Football Union of Russia (RFU)” in an echo of the punishment imposed on the country at the Olympics.

But the Polish FA have firmly stated their team will refuse to play against Russia.

The Czech Republic has joined Sweden and Poland in saying they will boycott any game against Russia in football’s World Cup play-offs.

The Telegraph reports that the British Government will likely launch a concerted effort with other nations to force FIFA President Gianni Infantino to issue a ban.

Conservative MP Damian Green, a member of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, tells Russia should play no part in the tournament.

On FIFA’s handling of the issue, he said: “I think that is unbelievably feeble and taking the example of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that allows Russia, despite all of the doping scandals, to participate in games as long as they are called the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC).

“It’s exactly the same cop out that the IOC went for. I think it’s just unacceptable in the current climate.

“I hope other countries follow the example of the English FA and more importantly the Polish FA in saying we won’t play them.

“That essentially dares FIFA to say ‘ok we will award games to Russia’. That would mean the World Cup wouldn’t be played, I would very much hope that other countries that have qualified wouldn’t participate in a World Cup with Russia.”

Asked if Russia should be banned, Mr Green responded: “Yes, a country that wages war against another country can’t be allowed to have normal sport.

“That would be the kind of symbolic gesture that would bring home to the Russian people that their government is driving them away from normal life and the big events in international sport.

“It’s pretty shameful for FIFA that they have not come to that conclusion when F1 instantly decided that the Russian Grand Prix couldn’t take place.”

While FIFA has so far allowed Russia to continue playing, UEFA stripped the country of its right to host the 2022 Champions League final, which was due to be held in St Petersburg, but will now take place in Paris.

READ MORE: ‘Stand up for what’s right’ Gary Lineker applauds Polish footballers

“We unanimously approved the decision that the Czech national team will in no case enter the event against the selection of Russia in the qualification round of the World Cup 2022.”

Chelsea FC’s future has also been plunged into uncertainty after Russian owner Roman Abramovich announced on Saturday he will be passing the “stewardship” of the club to the trustees of the club’s charitable foundation. He remains the owner.

The move comes amid pressure from campaigners and MPs for Mr Abramovich to be targeted by western sanctions.

Last week the Labour MP Chris Bryant used parliamentary privilege to say that Mr Abramovich was identified by the Home Office in 2019 as having links to the Russian state as well as to “corrupt activity and practices”.

Quoting from a leaked Home Office document, Mr Bryant said the UK should seize Abramovich’s assets and bar him from owning Chelsea.


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