FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour Visiting 88 Countries: Should Russia Be Skipped?

Jason Savage - Author

Feb. 20 2017, Updated 10:52 p.m. ET

The FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour sponsored by Coca Cola is in the midst of a world wide journey, stopping in 88 countries across 267 days. The journey for the FIFA World Cup trophy began in September 2013 in Brazil, which is exactly where it will end this April. This is the third time FIFA has taken the World Cup trophy on such a tour.

Currently, the FIFA World Cup trophy is making its way around Europe. During the trophy’s stay in England, it made stops in Scotland and Wales this weekend. Neither of those countries will be participating in this year’s World Cup, so getting a chance to see the trophy up close and in person is a big deal for soccer fans. Over 6,000 tickets were sold in Wales as the FIFA World Cup trophy tour made its scheduled stop in Cardiff.

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Interestingly, when the FIFA World Cup trophy comes into a country, only heads of state and former winners of the world’s most famous award are allowed to make contact with it. From China to the United Kingdom to Kenya, the trophy will have traveled 100,000 miles before finally landing in Brazil ahead of this Summer’s premier event.

The FIFA World Cup is the most watched international event and often transcends sports. When nations from around the world to compete in soccer (or football), there is a great deal of diplomacy and politics laid on the table. With international tensions high between Russia and the rest of the world over the state of the Ukraine, this year’s World Cup will be an especially tense event.

The FIFA World Cup trophy tour is scheduled to make a stop in Russia from March 22-24. However, if some United States politicians had their way, Russia would not get to see the trophy or be allowed to Brazil for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. On March 6th, Republican U.S. Senators Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Dan Coats (R-Ind.) sent a letter to the FIFA president requesting that Russia be banned from the 2014 FIFA World Cup and stripped of the right to host the 2018 event. They cited Article 3 of the FIFA Statutes:

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“Discrimination of any kind against a country, private person or group of people on account of ethnic origin, gender, language, religion, politics or any other reason is strictly prohibited and punishable by suspension or expulsion.”

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FIFA president Joseph Blatter has not responded to the Senators’ request and chances are not likely that it will effect the FIFA World Cup trophy tour. However, it is not impossible to think that the FIFA committee could take action against Russia as European nations and the U.S. consider sanctions against Russia if Crimea joins them. Russia responded with a counter claim against the U.S. stating their involvement in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, and Syria.

Sadly, the heavy state of global politics hang over the FIFA World Cup trophy tour, the highlight event for many nations leading up to the main event this Summer.

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