Earlier this week, leaders in Germany and the Netherlands discussed moving the 2018 World Cup, which is set to be hosted by Russia. Peter Beuth, interior minister of the German state of Hesse, said, "If Putin doesn’t actively cooperate on clearing up the plane crash, the soccer World Cup in Russia in 2018 is unimaginable."
Others chimed in on discussions of moving the games, including the Netherlands Football Association. Now, FIFA has issued a statement saying they will not be moving the World Cup.
FIFA believes the World Cup in 2018 "can achieve positive change." "History has shown so far that boycotting sport events or a policy of isolation or confrontation are not the most effective ways to solve problems," explained FIFA. They added, "[The World Cup] can be a powerful catalyst for constructive dialogue between people and governments." FIFA has previously rejected calls to move the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, despite concerns about the weather, allegations of bribery, and the nation's reliance on cheap migrant labor.
Russia has a $20 billion budget for the 2018 World Cup, which will be used to renovate and build 12 stadiums. This will be the first World Cup in Eastern Europe.
The Wire has reached out to sponsors of the World Cup for comment on FIFA's decision.