Russia now at real risk of being stripped of 2018 World Cup, Trump its “last hope”

FIFA World Cup - Russia 2018 (Image: fifa.com)

Image: fifa.com 

2017/01/09 - 22:16 • Analysis & Opinion, Politics, Russia

With yet another sports competition just moved out of Russia (2017 Biathlon World Cup & World Championships) and attention to former sports minister Vitaly Mutko’s role in the doping scandal intensifying, many in Moscow now fear that Russia could be stripped of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

That would be a both a major personal and public relations disaster for Vladimir Putin who has long insisted that hosting the World Cup was just as important an indication that Russia under his leadership was again “standing on its feet” as was the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, now so tarnished by the Russian government’s doping program.

As a result, some in Moscow are considering how best to play defense, including radical steps like firing Mutko, in an effort to save the situation [Note that in October 2016, already after the the doping scheme got publicly exposed, Putin promoted Mutko from his position as Russia’s sports minister to a deputy prime minister – Ed.]. And it is likely although certainly not the subject of public discussion that the Kremlin will try to save its right to host the competition by trying to corrupt any decision-making process about it.

On the Versiya portal, Irina Gritsinskaya says that FIFA has begun an investigation into the role of Mutko in the doping scandal and that if it determines that he was involved, he will be banned from football in the future and the 2018 FIFA World Cup may be shifted from Russia.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) had pointed to Mutko in its report of some six months ago, the sports commentator says. It appears to be coming up again because of the spate of decisions by various sports groups to shift international athletic competitions out of Russia to other countries.

Vladimir Putin congratulating Russia's sports minister Vitaly Mutko (believed to be the top administrator of the state-organized doping system) with his birthday at a joint meeting of the Council for Physical Education and Sports under the President of Russia and the Organizing Committee for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The book Putin holds in his hand is an English language self-study textbook being presented to Mutko as a prank gift. December 2015, Moscow, Russia (Image: Mikhail Metzel/TASS)

Vladimir Putin congratulating Russia’s sports minister Vitaly Mutko (believed to be the top administrator of the state-organized doping system) with his birthday at a joint meeting of the Council for Physical Education and Sports under the President of Russia and the Organizing Committee for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The book Putin holds in his hand is an English language self-study textbook being presented to Mutko as a prank gift. December 2015, Moscow, Russia (Image: Mikhail Metzel/TASS)

And now it is football’s turn, she says. At the end of December, FIFA dropped Russia from 55th to 56th in its world rankings even though the Russian team had not taken part in any matches earlier in the month, an indication, she suggests, that the football world is now taking a closer look at all things connected to Russia.

Indeed, when the FIFA report was released, Grinitskaya says, “it became known that among those suspected of using drugs were [11 current Russian] football players,” in addition to four who had been identified as doing so earlier. That creates a new situation with which Moscow must cope.

According to Grinitskaya, the smallest loss Russia is likely to have to absorb is the retirement of Mutko from the federal government. More serious — but still not fatal — would be a ban on the 11 new players who reportedly have taken performance-enhancing drugs. But the most serious would be for FIFA to decide to strip Russia of the right to host the competition in 2018.

Vladimir Putin has pledged Moscow’s full cooperation with the investigation, although he has continued to insist, as have all other Russian officials, that there never has been and is not now a state-organized program of doping and its cover up, despite what FIFA’s earlier investigation showed.

The question in Moscow now is whether Russia will be allowed to host the 2018 competition or not, Grinitskaya says. Some experts, like the observer for the Russian sports paper Chempionat, say that FIFA will try to avoid taking the games away from Russia because of the complications that would create so close to their scheduled opening date.

But he and others acknowledge that pressure from various countries and athletic federations may increase to the point that FIFA will have no choice, whatever its preferences are.

Grinitskaya quotes an Italian sports writer from Il Giornale about what the latter says are US attempts to take the World Cup away from Russia. But he adds, in what may be Moscow’s last hope to save the situation, “I do not think that Mr. Trump will have the audacity to do so.”


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Edited by: A. N.

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  • Mykola Potytorsky

    take the World Cup from Russia and give it to Ukraine

    • Rafael Hernandez

      Why? Ukraine’s football team is utter sнит. And besides there is a civil war there

      • Mykola Banderachuk

        you mean that invasion in crimea and the donbass by russia. COME ON MAN!!! that story is old and tired and nobody believes it. at least come up with new material.

        • Rafael Hernandez

          Yes, there is

          • Mykola Banderachuk

            no there is not!

          • Quartermaster

            Yes, there is a Russian invasion. Glad you agree.

        • Dirk Smith

          He’s a Putinbot. They only repeat what RT shills out. Once the deeper sanctions take hold, dishwashers like “Rafael” will be back in the kitchen.

          • Dagwood Bumstead

            ….. where he will be brewing Krokodil to make a few rubbles.

      • Brent

        Ukraine is ranked 30th…Russia is 56th. Thanks for once again proving your incompetence at debating “Ralphie, the fake Norwegian troll”….

        http://www.fifa.com/fifa-world-ranking/ranking-table/men/

      • Quartermaster

        The only place there is a civil war is in that universe you created in that infinite space between your ears.

    • http://maidanpress.com/ Poposhenko

      Wet dreams of Ukrainian nationalists.

      • Mykola Banderachuk

        maybe it is but people are saying that there are alot of nationalist russian gangs running around russia attacking non-russians in the streets. That is a fact jack. By the way these nationalists gangs are fascist and nazis drunk on the vodka and deliriously in love with putin.

        • Quartermaster

          Russia is filthy with Skin Heads, something that is quite uncommon in Ukraine. Ukrainians are civilized. Russians only minimally so.

      • Brent

        and the “wet dreams” of Russo Nazzi’s are that Rossiya is still a “World Power”…nyet!!!! https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9f8fa85c102bc734ef72d30c702cbd60b6fd0f407286135e0cbf55655b1e4195.jpg

        • http://maidanpress.com/ Poposhenko

          Public toilette in Ukraine. And happy now?

    • Oknemfrod

      >take the World Cup from Russia and give it to Ukraine<

      Would be nice under different circumstances but not realistically possible at the time for many reasons. London, however, with its superb facilities and already developed hosing infrastructure can host the World Cup on a very short notice.

      • Mykola Banderachuk

        yeah London would be funtastic

    • Dirk Smith

      The petition has already begun. A third-world kleptocracy like ruSSia isn’t qualified to host such an event, especially when it was gained by a payoff to Sepp Blatter.
      https://www.change.org/p/bureau-of-the-fifa-council-relocation-of-the-2018-world-cup-to-poland-and-ukraine?utm_medium=email&utm_source=fundraiser&utm_campaign=petition_eligible

      • Rafael Hernandez

        1700, lol. Many of them being fake accounts created by you

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      Au contraire, keep the Championship in Dwarfstan! Let Pedo Putolini waste his worthless rubbles on the event by all means. Every rubble spent on the Championship is a rubble less for the dwarf’s war chest.
      This is a prestige event for the dwarf, but Dwarfstan’s national team, doped to the eyeballs or not, doesn’t have a hope of winning the title. It will probably be knicked out in the first round, as it was in the European Championship. Let the team lose face in front of a home crowd. Let Dwarfstan’s hooligans assault spectators in full view of the world’s sporting press, live on TV worldwide. Let Dwarfstan lose face in all ways possible. Let the world see what Dwarfstan is really like.
      And once the Dwarfstanian team is kicked out, the locals will lose interest and not attend the matches, leading to financial losses- which will be huge anyway thanks to the inflated cost of organising the event. The expense may well “dwarf” the 50 billion of Sochi.

      • Mykola Banderachuk

        good point

        • Dagwood Bumstead

          There’s also the question of whether the locals will be able to afford tickets in the first place given the shape Dwarfstan’s economy is in.

  • veth

    IN 2018 MAIDAN MOSCOW IS IN FULL SWING…

    • Dirk Smith

      2018? Hell, this spring. The gay dwarf is done.

  • Dirk Smith
  • zorbatheturk

    Since FIFA likes dealing with crooks I say let Mexico host the World Cup in Sinaloa province, El Chapo Guzman can build the main stadium from his billions of narco profits.

    • Mykola Banderachuk

      isn’t guzman in jail?

      • zorbatheturk

        His money isn’t.

        • Mykola Banderachuk

          so how will he sign the cheques?

          • Dagwood Bumstead

            Electronic banking of course!

          • zorbatheturk

            A cell phone call to his accountant.

          • zorbatheturk

            These guys can just make a cell phone call to their private bankers.

  • Czech Mate

    On top of all that, people are quick to forget the violence ruSSki hooligan apes caused at Euro in France…I know that is just “peanuts” in comparison but still.
    How come one of the most corrupt organizations like FIFA survived its Blatter scandal unharmed anyway?