Dutch refuse to discuss possibility of a 2018 World Cup boycott amid furore over the plight of Malaysian Airlines flight.

Dutch football authorities (KNVB) say it is too early to discuss whether the country will participate in the Russia 2018 World Cup in the wake of the downed Malaysian Airlines flight.

The plane was almost certainly shot down by Russian separatists over eastern Ukraine, killing everyone on board including 193 Dutch nationals.

As pressure grows on Russian president Vladimir Putin, there have been calls for increased sanctions including talk of a boycott of the 2018 World Cup, scheduled to be hosted by Russia.

“Different people have asked the KNVB questions about the 2018 World Cup in Russia,” a Dutch federation statement read. “We realise that a future World Cup in Russia will be very emotive for all football lovers and relatives of the dead in the Netherlands.

“During these black days the KNVB is with the families, friends and football clubs of the victims. Silence over this immense loss is the current priority.

“The KNVB thinks that it is more appropriate for discussion about the future World Cup in Russia to be held at a later date, when the investigation of the disaster is completed.”

 

Political opportunism

Meanwhile, in Germany, there was less sensitivity to the plight of the deceased as opportunistic politicians sensed political gain could be made out of the tragedy.

Several politicians in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party have already raised the possibility of Russia being stripped of hosting rights.

Michael Fuchs, deputy head of the conservative bloc in the German parliament, said this would have far more impact than economic sanctions.

“FIFA should think about whether Moscow is an appropriate host if it can’t even guarantee safe airways,” Fuchs told Handelsblatt Online.

Fuchs also noted that Germany would be prepared to step in and stage the showpiece event, should Russia be stripped of hosting rights. How very noble.

Peter Beuth, Germany’s interior minister of the state of Hesse agreed with Fuchs.

“If Putin doesn’t actively cooperate on clearing up the plane crash, the soccer World Cup in Russia in 2018 is unimaginable,” he told Bild.