UK Deputy PM wants Russia stripped of World Cup

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 27, 2014 at 9:02 am •  Published: July 27, 2014
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LONDON (AP) — Britain's Deputy Prime Minister wants Russia stripped of the right to host the 2018 World Cup to punish President Vladimir Putin for "belligerent behavior" in the Ukraine crisis.

While calling for tougher sanctions against Russia, Nick Clegg told The Sunday Times newspaper that it is "unthinkable" for President Vladmir Putin to have the opportunity to exploit football's biggest sporting event to enhance his own status.

Clegg's intervention comes after some lawmakers in Germany called for the World Cup to be moved because of Russia's alleged involvement in shooting down a Malaysia Airlines plane over Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board.

"After this terrible, terrible downing of that jet, it is essential that the European Union gets tough on Vladimir Putin," Clegg was quoted as saying. "We've got to take tougher sanctions, but also we've got to make it quite clear that he cannot expect to get the privileges of being at the top table of world affairs if he's not prepared to play by the basic rules of world affairs.

"If he carries on with this belligerent behavior ... it's unthinkable that he should have the privilege of hosting the World Cup in 2018. You can't have the beautiful game marred by the ugly aggression of Russia on the Russian-Ukrainian border."

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