Vladimir Putin might seem heavy-handed, but he’s actually working on a plan to bring England back to the very top of world football.
If he’s not stripping to the waist to ride horseback in Siberia, Vladimir Putin is running around the geo-political field causing havoc for defences. The self-styled aggro-merchant of international politics has had his Russian military air force flying ‘provocative’ flight paths to test European and North American airspace.
So just as Russia starts gearing up for their greatest ever sporting event – the FIFA World Cup in 2018 – tension between East and West is returning to almost Cold War levels.
By Nicky Boyle – @bbobshakur
But it wasn’t that long ago that sanctions on Putin’s predecessors within the old Soviet Union went beyond economics and started to impact upon sport. The boycott of the Moscow Olympic Games in 1980 by 65 countries was at first seen as a crude act to achieve a political end by the United States, but it gathered real support and reduced the Games to a shadow of its usual self.
So what if a repeat happened at the World Cup in 2018? Well, there would be no holders to defend their title, as West Germany boycotted, and no beaten finalists either, Argentina were a no-show as well. However, Great Britain sent the largest Western European team and they actually did quite well – who can forget the GB victory in the 100m? So given England’s dismal form against both Germany and Argentina, two very one-sided rivalries, surely David Cameron should be turning up the heat in the Ukraine and ensuring that England stands the best possible chance of World Cup glory. Putin could be England’s secret weapon in 2018.
Source: Daily Mail, Reuters and FIFA.com