Russia, football and a line drawn too late

Everton, for example, whose stadium and training center are sponsored by USM the holding company founded by a Russian billionaire and now...

Everton, for example, whose stadium and training center are sponsored by USMthe holding company founded by a Russian billionaire and now operating under sanctions the United States Department of Treasury; or Chelsea, funded by an oligarch named by a British lawmaker as a possible target for sanctions earlier this week; or Manchester United, carefully silent on its sponsorship deal with Aeroflot, Russia’s state-backed airline, until suddenly dropping it on Friday.

Still, what do you expect, when the very bodies that are supposed to represent the game have been so willing? UEFA has, at least, deprived Saint Petersburg of this year’s Champions League finalsomething he found easier than canceling his own lucrative sponsorship deal with Gazprom.

And then, of course, there is FIFA. Oh, FIFA, whose president once accepted a friendship medal of Putin and claimed that the 2018 World Cup highlighted how wrong the Western perception of the ruthless kleptocracy he presided over was. On Thursday, this president, Gianni Infantino, couldn’t even bring himself to say the words “Russia” or “Ukraine” when asked about the crisis.

Even putting these teams, these bodies under scrutiny, however, can still be a little unfair. The idea that one should expect any of these institutions to have a cogent and thoughtful reaction to a major unfolding global crisis is, basically, slightly absurd.

The issues that have brought the world to this point, their underlying causes, their long-term ramifications, go well beyond not just the scope of their expertise – let’s go live, now, to Frank Lampard, for his vision of the 2014 Minsk agreements — but the limits of their world.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Russia, football and a line drawn too late
Russia, football and a line drawn too late
Newsrust - US Top News
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