Israel may replace Russia in World Cup 2014

Mark Kirk and Dan Coats

Russia could be replaced by Israel if they are kicked out of World Cup 2014 because of their takeover of the Crimea.

Two Republican senators sent a letter to FIFA president Joseph Blatter on earlier this month, asking that he strip Russia’s FIFA membership and move the 2018 World Cup out of the country.

The request was made in light of what senator Mark Kirk and Dan Coats called a “military occupation of a sovereign Ukraine”.

In their letter they stated: “In light of Russia’s military occupation of a sovereign Ukraine, we respectfully ask that you urgently convene an emergency session of FIFA to consider suspending Russia’s membership in FIFA, stripping Russia of the right to host the 2018 World Cup, and denying the Russian National Team the right to participate in the upcoming 2014 World Cup in Brazil.”

The senators referenced FIFA’s denial to allow Yugoslavia to participate in the 1992 European Championship and 1994 World Cup and cited Article 3 of the FIFA Statutes, which is labelled “Non-discrimination and stance against racism.”

Article 3 reads: “Discrimination of any kind against a Country, private person or group of people on account of race, skin colour, ethnic, national or social origin, gender, language, religion, political opinion or any other opinion, wealth, birth or any other status, sexual orientation or any other reason is strictly prohibited and punishable by suspension or expulsion.”

The letter also requests Russia be denied participation in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Russia is in Group H and could feasibly face the United States in the round of 16 should both countries advance from their groups. The teams met in a November 2012 friendly in Krasnodar, Russia.

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If Russia is given the boot, Israel who came third place in the group stages and failed to qualify will replace them. Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian land and human rights abuse is well known and will raise questions if they were to take Russia’s place, as many will see no difference between Israel’s occupation of Palestine to Russia’s occupation of the Crimea.

The senators do not offer any suggestions, but “ask that a more deserving World Cup 2018 bid should be re-considered instead.”

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