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Sports, football and politics
_Pelle_ 9 months ago
Paris Saint-Germain 140 6663

Russia has been expelled from the 2022 World Cup and its teams suspended from all international football competitions “until further notice” after President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine, FIFA announced in a joint statement with UEFA on Monday.

Politics and sports, we keep saying that they shouldn’t be mixed, but in reality they often are. All over the world.

Was it right to expel Russia from international football competitions?

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Comments
Forester 9 months ago
Fiorentina, Finland 0 139

Putin is going berserk smh. He forces us to mix politics and football

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SunFlash 9 months ago Edited
Manchester United, USA 19 3245

Sport and politics are linked and have always been linked. We can see it through how governments fund sporting events and national bodies, how (in the US) public money gets diverted towards stadiums and collegiate sports, the list goes on.

We can also observe things that have happened more specifically in our sports world - the sportwashing of Manchester City to provide the UAE with a base of operations in the U.K. and meld public opinion...and now Saudi Arabia attempting to do the same thing.

Even the Olympics, which operates on a strict policy of neutrality, actively participates in politics worldwide. They attempt to do so positively (e.g. setting up sporting bodies and encouraging participation in countries without a sport infrastructure) but to accomplish this they are heavily involved in both national and local government.

Closer to home, we know that many football clubs in Europe were founded with certain demographics they were designed to represent out of their local communities. In the U.K. Celtic and Rangers will always be the most obvious as that division in society still somewhat exists, but we have clubs designed to represent class differences, working class, gentry, landed class, etc. We have clubs designed to represent religion and ethnic differences, Jewish clubs, immigrant clubs (whose members were unwelcome at traditionally British clubs), Catholic clubs, denomination clubs, the list goes on. We also have clubs that while perhaps not created to represent a certain political view, grew into it. Right-wing clubs, left-wing clubs, clubs advocating for independence of a certain region, clubs who staunchly support the government, etc. In the modern day Real Madrid and Barcelona still represent (at least within Spain) these factions, but it's not limited to that at all, think of Beskitas in Turkey as another relevant example (the government literally allows them the Turkish flag in their crest, a rare privilege).

National leaders and politicians use the success of their international teams to increase their own prestige, and international events such as the Olympics are an opportunity for countries to improve their international image worldwide (which is another form of sportwashing for those who are interested).

Of course, politics in sport is not always negative - like many seem to think. The olympics does a lot of good, especially in the developing world, and sporting federations recognizing certain unrecognized states gives them greater legitimacy (e.g. Palestine, Taiwan, etc). China and the USA have their entire diplomatic relations because of a table tennis tournament where an American and the Chinese team got along which led to an invite to China, which served as a bridge to open diplomatic relations without either country losing face.

Sport is one of very few things that worldwide is universally enjoyed, and therefore brings people of very different races, ethics, politics, and nationalities into the same space. By doing this, it unites people who otherwise may have thought themselves enemies, and helps them to recognize each other as fellow human beings, while with whom we may still disagree, it allows an opportunity to see them as humans who enjoy the same things we do, and from that, maybe we want to kill each other just a little bit less. That, in my mind, is a universal good.

EDIT:

Realized in traditional fashion, I failed to answer the question. I think that the decision to suspend Russia was premature. It was obviously somewhat forced by countries refusing to play against Russia, so in reality this just makes FIFA's life easier.

However, I am also not a pacifist. To quote legendary American reporter Andy Rooney, "I had been opposed to the war on the grounds that I believed no war just. But what I saw in these camps [SS concentration camps] made me deeply ashamed and I and permanently changed my opinion on whether just wars existed."

There has been a lot of whataboutism with respect to FIFA's decision to suspend Russia, particularly in light of Israel's repeated human rights violations in that disputed area. I think what maybe makes this situation different is that unlike Israel, Russia is entirely unthreatened by Ukraine. It was a clear example of an aggressor, a bully, and a perpetrator of hostilities. Whatever you think of Israel and Palestine, Israel did not perpetrate those wars and if they had lost would no longer exist. No such existential threat hangs over Russia. I find the whataboutism an argument in bad faith. In the end though, I am of the opinion that Russia should not have been suspended from FIFA. If other countries refused to play Russia, perhaps they should not have been docked points for doing so. But the suspension I think does more harm then good.

2
  • History
Showing previous versions of this text.

Sport and politics are linked and have always been linked. We can see it through how governments fund sporting events and national bodies, how (in the US) public money gets diverted towards stadiums and collegiate sports, the list goes on.

We can also observe things that have happened more specifically in our sports world - the sportwashing of Manchester City to provide the UAE with a base of operations in the U.K. and meld public opinion...and now Saudi Arabia attempting to do the same thing.

Even the Olympics, which operates on a strict policy of neutrality, actively participates in politics worldwide. They attempt to do so positively (e.g. setting up sporting bodies and encouraging participation in countries without a sport infrastructure) but to accomplish this they are heavily involved in both national and local government.

Closer to home, we know that many football clubs in Europe were founded with certain demographics they were designed to represent out of their local communities. In the U.K. Celtic and Rangers will always be the most obvious as that division in society still somewhat exists, but we have clubs designed to represent class differences, working class, gentry, landed class, etc. We have clubs designed to represent religion and ethnic differences, Jewish clubs, immigrant clubs (whose members were unwelcome at traditionally British clubs), Catholic clubs, denomination clubs, the list goes on. We also have clubs that while perhaps not created to represent a certain political view, grew into it. Right-wing clubs, left-wing clubs, clubs advocating for independence of a certain region, clubs who staunchly support the government, etc. In the modern day Real Madrid and Barcelona still represent (at least within Spain) these factions, but it's not limited to that at all, think of Beskitas in Turkey as another relevant example (the government literally allows them the Turkish flag in their crest, a rare privilege).

National leaders and politicians use the success of their international teams to increase their own prestige, and international events such as the Olympics are an opportunity for countries to improve their international image worldwide (which is another form of sportwashing for those who are interested).

Of course, politics in sport is not always negative - like many seem to think. The olympics does a lot of good, especially in the developing world, and sporting federations recognizing certain unrecognized states gives them greater legitimacy (e.g. Palestine, Taiwan, etc). China and the USA have their entire diplomatic relations because of a table tennis tournament where an American and the Chinese team got along which led to an invite to China, which served as a bridge to open diplomatic relations without either country losing face.

Sport is one of very few things that worldwide is universally enjoyed, and therefore brings people of very different races, ethics, politics, and nationalities into the same space. By doing this, it unites people who otherwise may have thought themselves enemies, and helps them to recognize each other as fellow human beings, while with whom we may still disagree, it allows an opportunity to see them as humans who enjoy the same things we do, and from that, maybe we want to kill each other just a little bit less. That, in my mind, is a universal good.

expertfootball11 9 months ago Edited
Real Madrid, France 64 2827

I agree with the majority of what you stated @SunFlash, you took a lot of time to write this, good job!
When US invaded Iraq without UN mandate and when it wasn't threatening the US, it was a fake pretext of WMD and Al Qaeda support for Saddam that drawed into an unbelievable mess, that is almost 20 years long... and never the US was excluded out of any sport events... This is the same thing as Russia now declaring a war with a fake pretext.
I just hope we are less hypocritical in our approaches, there are still people dying in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Afghanistan, Somalia, Burma and other parts of Africa as we speak. And almost no one speaks out against the agressor states, which also include Russia, but also France, UK, Saudi etc...
We are humans, made from one Creator, one's suffering cannot be placed on the top of another.

0
  • History
Showing previous versions of this text.

I agree with the majority of what you stated @SunFlash, you took a lot of time to write this, good job!
When US invaded Iraq with UN mandate, it was a fake pretext of WMD and Al Qaeda support for Saddam that drawed into an unbelievable mess, that is almost 20 years long... and never the US was excluded out of any sport events... This is the same thing as Russia now declaring a war with a fake pretext.
I just hope we are less hypocritical in our approaches, there are still people dying in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Afghanistan, Somalia, Burma and other parts of Africa as we speak. And almost no one speaks out against the agressor states, which also include Russia, but also France, UK, Saudi etc...
We are humans, made from one Creator, one's suffering cannot be placed on the top of another.

Greatone 9 months ago
Arsenal, Australia 19 710

People who say seperate sports from politics are missing the point. the point in banning russia is more about doing what little the sport can in achieving their unifying goal. People trying to play both sides feed into the aggressor when they remain neutral. Just as football would be helping pander to the aggressor if they didn't do anything at all.

All of FIFA's non-sporting goals are about bettering the world. war is complete contrast to that. If it is in the purpose of stopping war, innocent lives being lost and stability against an act of complete unwarranted aggression, then yeah they should impose sanctions.

NOT imposing sanctions only infers acceptance that the aggressor is allowed to do this. Like a rapist never being punished for their actions, they will continue to push and do worse until they start to feel like they can't.

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Emrecan_58 7 months ago
Besiktas 149 3374

I wanted to open this conversation myself a few months ago as the decisions seemed absurd. I will never support such actions. Why would you ban a player whose just playing for a Russian team? Or why would you ban an athlete who maybe is against the war himself/herself and were working their ass off to win a medal at the olympics? West were never different than Russia but I believe they're even more hypocrite when it comes to world peace(!).

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SunFlash 7 months ago
Manchester United, USA 19 3245

@Emre

It's a conflict between states and international athletes are representatives of their countries, rightly or wrongly. It's akin to kicking out an ambassador. To say it differently, on an idealist level, no athlete should be banned because of the country that they represent. On a practical level, Putin seems very content to up the rhetoric against Europe + USA (so basically the West). In the words of the Russian foreign minister Lavrov, NATO is engaged in a proxy war with Russia, and therefore nuclear options were on the table. Now it may be easy to dismiss this as rhetoric (which it probably is), but nevertheless the Russian government has threatened the West with a nuclear bomb. Given Russia's...dubious track record of trustworthiness, this is concerning.

The short version is that these bans at this stage for athletes are done as much for the athletes as they are for annoying Russia. Yes, it sucks for a Russian tennis player that they cannot complete in Wimbledon, for example, but can you even imagine the vitriol they would receive for doing so? Both at home and abroad? Yes it sucks for the Russian players that they cannot play their qualifiers, but very few teams would play them anyway.

At the end of the day, the EU and NATO have been threatened with nuclear weapons by a country that is currently engaged in a land war on EU and NATO's doorstep. Emre, as someone who lives in Brussels, the defacto capital of Europe, you probably have no fear of getting killed in a mushroom cloud anytime soon because Russia is mostly bark and no bite - but these are serious threats and the leaders have to take them seriously.

Also, do me a personal favor and stop with the "all sides are the same" nonsense. I am a hella biased Westerner myself and so maybe I have a limited worldview, but the structure of governments in the West (freedom of the press, speech, fair elections, etc) all act as checks against massive government overreach. I'm not saying that our leaders are better. I'm saying that the systems and structure around them give the citizenry enough power to prevent their leaders from doing massively unpopular or stupid things in the first place because getting voted out will be a certainty. Putin jails or kills his primary political opponents, massively censors the press, and free speech in Russia does not exist. They're not the same with regard to world peace and to pretend that they are is simply a denial of reality...imo.

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