Russia did not deserve the 2018 World Cup, says Brian Glanville, but nor did any of the other host nations in recent years.
Should Russia now lose the ensuing World Cup?
The demand should be heard after the renewed, appalling revelations about the extent of the state-sponsored doping of their Olympic athletes. Somehow however I do not think that such a drastic punishment will happen to Russian football.
True, there is little doubt that the Russians are guilty as hell. But let us put the dismal matter into its dismal context. Who in recent years has not been guilty of buying the World Cup finals?
Qatar appallingly so. A country with no football tradition whatsoever, with no team capable of making any challenge for the title. Bang utterly to rights; yet even major European powers have sold out agreeing that thanks to the appalling summer heat which should have ruled out Qatar’s bid in the first place, the tournament has been shamefully switched to the midst of the European season, with all the fixture chaos which will now ensue.
Doping of course is another matter, as indeed is the threat of violence. Russia’s athletes have been drugged to the eyeballs, but so far as I know, there isn’t evidence that Russian footballers have been drugged the same way.
Russia for me has always been an especially wretched choice, first on account of its endemic racism black players being constantly subjected to abuse, secondly by the brutish behaviour of their supporters, so plainly and horribly evidenced by the organised brutality of their hooligan fans during the last European Championship finals.
As for Fifa, now alas headed by the abysmal Gianni Infantino, the wilder shores of idiocy appear to have been reached.
By the report that the Welsh Football Association, which tactfully saw to it that no poppy symbols appeared on their kit in the most recent Cardiff international, they may still be impugned because their fans were wearing poppies in the stands! Further evidence that this is an organisation which will strain at a gnat and swallow a camel.