27 May, 2015 – OTTAWA – The Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) calls on the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) to revoke the hosting of the 2018 World Cup from the Russian Federation.

The UCC launched a petition today to have Russia’s hosting privileges for the 2018 FIFA World Cup revoked. Please sign the petition here.

The Russian Federation is engaged in an invasion of Ukraine that has cost thousands of lives. More than a million people have been displaced as a result of Russia’s aggression. The Russian Federation has invaded and illegally occupies the Crimean Peninsula of Ukraine, where it is carrying out a campaign of intimidation and suppression of dissent, targeted especially against the indigenous Crimean Tatar People.

As an aggressor state, and a state that coordinates, sponsors and supplies the terrorist organizations of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk “Peoples’ Republic,” the Russian Federation must not be allowed to hold an international event that symbolizes peace and the unity of peoples.

“As many world leaders have stated, there can be no ‘business as usual’ with the Russian Federation until the Putin regime ceases its invasion of Ukraine, withdraws from Crimea and desists in meddling in Ukraine’s internal affairs,” stated Paul Grod, National President of the UCC. “FIFA should immediately revoke from Russia the privilege of hosting the 2018 World Cup, as a state that continues to violate the basic principles of international law. To allow the Russian Federation to host such a prestigious event would be tantamount to endorsing the Putin regime’s attack on Ukraine. ”

The UCC applauds the position of United States Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and John McCain (R-Ariz), who wrote to the FIFA Congress, which is taking place on 29 May:

More than 40 countries, all FIFA members, have imposed sanctions on Russia in an effort to influence events on the ground in Ukraine. By allowing Russia to host the tournament, FIFA would offer an economic lifeline to the Putin regime in contravention of the multilateral sanctions that have been imposed by the international community.

The next president of FIFA has a responsibility to ensure not only a safe and successful 2018 World Cup, but the endurance of the FIFA mission that claims to promote football “globally in the light of its unifying, educational, cultural and humanitarian values.” We strongly encourage you to elect a president who will uphold these values and work to deny the Putin regime the privilege of hosting the 2018 World Cup.

The UCC joins the international community in its concern over serious allegations of criminal mismanagement in the allocation of the 2018 World Cup to Russia. Today, the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland stated that they have seized documents at FIFA and “opened criminal proceedings against persons unknown on suspicion of criminal mismanagement and of money laundering in connection with the allocation of the 2018 and 2022 Football World Cups.”

The US Justice Department announced indictments charging 14 defendants – nine FIFA officials (including two current FIFA Vice Presidents), and five corporate executives “with racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies, among other offenses, in connection with the defendants’ participation in a 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through the corruption of international soccer.”

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