KENYA BROWN - Thursday, March 13, 2014
Tensions between Russia and the United States are moving from the political arena to the soccer field.
Two politicians from the State Duma are demanding FIFA kick the U.S. national team out of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Aleksandr Sidyakin and Mikhail Markelov, deputies in Russia's lower house, are making the appeal to soccer's world governing body. The two are also asking FIFA to terminate the United States' membership in the organization.
This comes in response to a letter sent by U.S. Republican senators Mark Kirk and Dan Coats to FIFA President Joseph "Sepp" Blatter asking him to strip Russia of their membership and move the 2018 World Cup out of the country.
The two senators also ask FIFA to remove Russia out of the 2014 World Cup.
The ongoing political crisis in Ukraine and a host of other issues have politicians in both countries looking to one-up the other in media circles, and it is highly unlikely that either will get their demands fulfilled.
This is not the first time for Russia and the United States to mix politics with sports. Back in the 1980s both countries saw fit to boycott each other's hosting of the Summer Olympic Games.
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter led a boycott of the 1980 Games over the former Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan while the other side led a boycott of the 1984 Games in response to the United States' move.
It has always been said that sports and politics should never mix, but there will always be individuals who think it is best to deny athletes the right to participate in competitions.