EU Governments Urged To Boycott World Cup In Russia
20 April, 2018

More than 50 members of the European Parliament have signed a letter urging European Union governments to follow Iceland and the United Kingdom leaders in boycotting this year’s FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Photo credit: Nataliya Gumenyuk/HROMADSKE

The letter states that the recent nerve agent attack on ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Britain is President Vladimir Putin’s latest “mockery” of European values and urges to the EU to take a stand against violations committed by Moscow.

READ MORE: Breaking Down the Russian Spy Attack

The attack prompted many EU states to expel Russian diplomats last month and sparked discussions of government boycotts of the sporting tournament.

The call to EU governments to shun the event was initiated by German politician Rebecca Harms. The letter, sent to all EU states, lists a series of transgressions committed by Russia over the past years, including “violent military invasion in Ukraine”, “indiscriminate bombings of schools, hospitals and civilian areas in Syria,” election meddling and attempts to weaken and divide the EU, as further reasons to not attend the football tournament.

Photo credit: Nataliya Gumenyuk/HROMADSKE

“While we agree that sport can help build metaphorical bridges, as long as Putin is blowing up real ones in Syria, we cannot pretend this World Cup is just like any other major sporting event,” it states.

READ MORE: Syrian Airstrikes and Russia: Where Do US And Europe Go From Here?

“As long as Putin is illegally occupying Crimea, holding Ukrainian political prisoners and supporting the war in Eastern Ukraine we cannot pretend that this tournament’s host is our welcoming neighbour.”

It then reminds the EU governments that Putin invaded Ukraine three days after the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi “and the world watched in dismay” and calls on them to “make things right by not cheering at his grave violations of human rights at the 2018 World Cup.”

The UK and Iceland announced diplomatic boycotts of sporting event last month.