British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has blasted world football’s governing body FIFA for its stance on Russia when it snubbed the 2022 World Cup draw last week.
Johnson’s office sent a letter to FIFA President Gianni Infantino underlining Britain’s “disappointment” at seeing Russian delegates at last week’s FIFA Congress in Doha, Qatar, according to the text of the correspondence obtained by POLITICO.
And he warned that sport cannot be used “as a platform to legitimize Russian aggression.”
In the March 31 letter, Johnson said he “with regret” was unable to attend last Friday’s World Cup draw in Doha and wished the tournament “every success” – before attacking the FIFA boss.
Johnson slammed Infantino for inviting Russian delegates to the congress amid a sweeping Western campaign of sanctions against Russia, and branded the Football Union of Russia as “effectively a representative body” for the Kremlin.
“We therefore urge you to reconsider your position on this matter so that representatives of both the Football Union of Russia and the Football Union of Belarus cannot attend future FIFA meetings and business,” the letter said.
“Football must remain united in light of Russia’s heinous actions in Ukraine,” Johnson added. “Sport must not serve as a platform to legitimize Russian aggression.”
“As you know,” Johnson told Infantino, “Britain is one of them 36 other countries from around the world recently reiterated our position that such sports administrators representing Russian and Belarusian teams should not be invited to participate in international sports or in the activities of sports federations and federations.”
Johnson cited the International Paralympic Committee’s exclusion of Russian and Belarusian athletes from the recent Paralympics as a “strong” demonstration of “international solidarity.”
Johnson’s office and FIFA did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
FIFA suspended Russia indefinitely from international tournaments in late February, in the days after Moscow launched its deadly attack on Ukraine. The move effectively banned Russia from the 2022 World Cup, which is scheduled to be held in Qatar from November to December. On Tuesday the Court of Arbitration for Sport called Russia had withdrawn its appeal against the ban.
Infantino receive an Order of Friendship medal from Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2019, a year after Russia hosted the last men’s World Cup.
https://www.politico.eu/article/boris-johnson-fifa-football-gianni-infantino-russia/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication Boris Johnson slams FIFA boss Gianni Infantino for stance on Russia - POLITICO