BRUSSELS, September 18. /ITAR-TASS/. The European Union cannot strip Russia of the right to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the EU External Action Service (EEAS) told ITAR-TASS on Thursday.
An EEAS official said the FIFA in 2010 granted Russia the right to host the 2018 football World Cup. This decision was taken not by the European Union, so the EU is in no position to cancel it.
According to EEAS, since then the international political situation has changed, and the EU reacts to this. That is why the European Union imposed political and economic sanctions on Russia.
The issue of national teams’ participation in that or other high-level sports events is the business of the EU member-states and their sports federations, the official said.
German media previously reported that the European Union was going to strip Russia of the right to host international sport competitions — in particular, the football World Cup, a stage of Formula One Grand Prix in Sochi, as well as the 2016 World Ice Hockey Championships.
Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said the use of sanctions against Russia in the sphere of international sports events could not be ruled out, but there were no prerequisites for this.
“Anything may happen, and we remember boycotts of Olympics. However, we proceed from the assumption that sports should be separated from politics. Sports should be a kind of unifying force. Athletes are people of the world who train hard, preparing for competitions. So, athletes should not be deprived of this opportunity,” Mutko said.