Senators Menendez and Johnson Lead Letter Calling on FIFA to Deny Russia the Privilege of Hosting 2018 World Cup

Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Europe, were joined by Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL), David Perdue (R-GA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), John Cornyn (R-TX), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), James Risch (R-ID), Patrick Toomey (R-PA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Mark Kirk (R-IL) in sending the following letter to President Josef Blatter of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) calling on FIFA to consider stripping Russia of the privilege of hosting the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

In the letter, the Senators stated that: “With the goal of ending the crisis in Ukraine and ensuring a successful 2018 World Cup, we strongly encourage FIFA to deny the Putin regime the privilege of hosting the 2018 World Cup and make preparations for an alternate host country.”

The letter can be found below and here. A copy of the letter was also sent to the United States Soccer Federation.

Mr. Josef Blatter
President, Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) FIFA-Strasse 20 P.O. Box
CH-8044 Zurich
Switzerland

Dear Mr. Blatter:

Given Russia’s ongoing violations of the territorial integrity of Ukraine, we respectfully request that you convene an Extraordinary Congress of FIFA to consider stripping Russia of the privilege of hosting the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Allowing Russia to host the FIFA World Cup inappropriately bolsters the prestige of the Putin regime at a time when it should be condemned and provides economic relief at a time when much of the international community is imposing economic sanctions.

As you know, nearly a full year has passed since unmarked Russian troops and Russian-backed separatists began their dismemberment of Ukraine. Since then, more than 40 countries, all FIFA members, have implemented sanctions on Russia in an effort to end the conflict. It is unacceptable that while nearly half of the 2014 World Cup participants have joined the international sanctions regime to counter Russian aggression, FIFA would not even consider allowing its members to vote on moving the 2018 competition to a country that respects the shared principles of FIFA and international law.

With the goal of ending the crisis in Ukraine and ensuring a successful 2018 World Cup, we strongly encourage FIFA to deny the Putin regime the privilege of hosting the 2018 World Cup and make preparations for an alternate host country.

Sincerely,

Robert Menendez
United States Senator

Ron Johnson
United States Senator

Richard J. Durbin
United States Senator

David Perdue
United States Senator

Jeanne Shaheen
United States Senator

John Cornyn
United States Senator

Claire McCaskill
United States Senator

John McCain
United States Senator

Lindsey Graham
United States Senator

James E. Risch
United States Senator

Patrick J. Toomey
United States Senator

Marco Rubio
United States Senator

Mark Kirk
United States Senator