It’s been 4 years since Germany’s Mario Gotze scored in extra time against Argentina in Brazil to crown Germany soccer World Cup champions in 2014, their fourth title.
Who will it be this time around in Russia where the 21st FIFA World Cup is scheduled to take place from June 14 to July 15?
Perhaps no team will.
It will likely be diplomatically boycotted by a large number of countries and there is a $14,084 chance the whole tournament may be prevented from ever taking place or moved from Russia.
Following the March 4, 2018 poisoning of Russian former double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, half a dozen countries announced their intention to “diplomatically” boycott the World Cup in Russia.
UK’s The Sun has been told six countries are planning to boycott this summer’s World Cup in Russia to show solidarity with Britain after the Salisbury poisoning incident. “
“They are Poland, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, Australia and Japan, with more expected to follow,” said The Sun.
The South China morning post reported Britain’s foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, suggesting that if England play in the tournament, it will present Russian president Vladimir Putin with the same kind of propaganda opportunity afforded to Adolf Hitler by countries that participated in the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games.
This is a difficult undertaking.
“One of (FIFA’s) major sponsors is now Gazprom, a Russian majority state-owned energy corporation, and China, a close ally, has Chinese companies like Wanda also important financial partners to soccer body,” said the Chinese daily.
Santiago Times said Iceland has announced it will be boycotting the World Cup this summer and temporarily suspending bilateral contacts with Russia at the highest level.
Icelandic leaders will not attend the FIFA World Cup in Russia this summer
“All of Iceland’s closest allies and partners have decided to take measures against Russia in the wake of the Salisbury attack, including the Nordic countries, most member states of NATO as well as several EU nations,” the statement, published on the website of Iceland’s government, reads.
In total, 100 Russian diplomats were being removed, the biggest Western expulsion of Russian diplomats since the height of the Cold War, according to Reuters.
Reuters said Australia hinted at a possible boycott of the World Cup when Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said there were other possible actions, such as Australia boycotting the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
But the governing body for Australian football said that as far as it was concerned, the World Cup was going ahead as planned.
Russia’s response to boycott calls
Russia has expelled diplomats from 23 countries in retaliation against the West, Russia’s media agency TASS said, adding that a possible diplomatic boycott of the FIFA World Cup in Russia by some countries is unlikely to affect the upcoming championship, quoting Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov telling reporters last Wednesday.
“The refusal by officials to attend some events as part of the World Cup is unlikely to have a negative effect on the sports holiday in general since the important thing about the World Cup is not the arrival of officials or representatives, but the game of the teams,” Peskov said.
The European Commission has no confirmation to rumors about its possible boycott of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, Mina Andreeva, a spokesperson for the European Commission, said on Tuesday.
Andreeva added that currently no representative of the European Commission was ready to say if he or she would be in attendance.
The £10,000 crowdfunding attempt to stop World Cup Russia
The Huffington Post said Sashy Nathan, a lawyer, is crowdfunding an attempt to stop Russia holding the World Cup.
With weeks to go until the tournament, he and a group of human rights barristers wants to “use a litany of bad behaviour by Russia – the Salisbury poisoning, Vladimir Putin’s fixed re-election, its occupation of the Crimea, and its “gay propaganda” laws – to convince FIFA the World Cup should be moved.”
“The group of lawyers will use FIFA’s own human rights policy, to argue it must act and stop awarding the world’s biggest sporting events to countries with illiberal, dangerous regimes, and it just needs to raise £10,000 ($14,084) via crowdfunding to do it,” Huffington Post said .
Following a string of scandalous corruption charges at the highest levels, FIFA has strived to redefine itself with new human rights policy committing it to “respecting all internationally recognised human rights and striving to promote the protection of these rights”.
Russia has laws prohibiting the promotion of “homosexual behaviour among minors” that can land people with hefty fines.
Last year, the European Court of Human Rights found Russia’s homosexual laws breached the rights to free expression and freedom from discrimination.
“If you’re a gay journalist or a gay football fan, and you decide to wear your rainbow laces one day, are you going to get locked up?” Nathan told the daily.
“Our group does not rule out taking FIFA to the European Court of Human Rights if it refuses to listen,” Nathan said.
Last Friday, the group launched a crowd funder to raise the £10,000 it needed to cover the costs of compiling a dossier of legal arguments to present to the FIFA.