World Cup 2018 Russia – Going, going, gone?

What began six years ago this month continues apace. WC2018 Russia was to be a groundbreaking event as the football family set foot in pastures new.

Away from the doping, racist and hooligan infested lands of England and Spain, the terrorist infiltrated Belgian and Dutch shores, and Portugal.

Instead the showpiece of world football was handed to a nation which could be a combo of all three failings – terrorism, racism and hooliganism.

On Friday December 10th the wet dreams of the ABR (Anybody But Russia) brigade splashed forth with the McLaren Report Part 2.

Strip them

As those English FA officials I had to deal with for the 2012 Euro bid in Croatia, the word “strip” resounds.

Then they were talking about what type of clubs the bidding country had to provide, free of charge, to ensure their support come voting day.

Now it is to make WC2018 Russia an asterisk on a Wikipedia page. Bring football home, they are crying, to where it belongs.

It began sneakily in the North American media this summer and the English journos are dancing to the tune.

On a day when the growing horror of sexual abuse of young children in English football was sneaked out, and the hero of British cycling Bradley Wiggins was being absolved of his doping, by his paymasters media outlet, WADA’s shop of horrors provided a nice tissue to staunch the flow of sports blood.

And WADA, knowingly or not, played into the nasty game to bring the World Cup to England in 2018.

The ABR’s were out in force.

WC2018 Russia – A ginger stepchild

The Guardian’s Sean Ingle can be forgiven for his follow the leader attempt to play God this summer and strip Russia of the World Cup.

Ken Early’s attempt in the Irish Independent merely wanted to fit in with the motherland and bait clicks.

It was in fashion to hate Russia and by speaking/writing about any old tosh was to serve the greater good.

It would have had meaning had the Rio Olympics been a bastion of clean, fair sport instead of a disintegrating attack on human rights and decency.

Forget clean sport, Rio was not at the races. Usain, Mo and Coe all slathered themselves in filthy corporate lucre while Russian athletes were hated and booed.

The ABR’s had a field day without a moment’s self-awareness. Russia needed a beating down like that damn ginger stepchild.

My suspicion of the brigade trundling out their usual blather about giving the World Cup in 2018 to ABR triggered when a host of sports journos who grovel at the feet of doped up superstars began bleating.

Known as ‘presstitutes’ they need the acclamation to feel relevant – and stay in a job. Grant Wahl, without a hint of irony, asked “Why are we going to Russia again?” – before being reminded that the USMNT might not be there in any case so to calm down.

He was retweeting an excerpt of the McLaren Report 2 from an ESPN writer, who would then go on to echo his sentiment in her article the next day.

Her novel proposition is that there should be no International sports events to be held in Russia.

Not just the 2017 bobsled World Championships in February, it should include the 2018 FIFA World Cup. In the echo chamber of media, rarely are opposing views allowed to be held for long.

Ms. Ford made sure she kept her job for a while longer with this mind-bending leap of logic.

Her contention that because of Russia’s dodgy lab in 2014 it cannot be trusted. She didn’t take a step further from the circle of shite to suggest a fully independent lab under FBI lockdown or anything equally as innovative.

Writing for a network and company that broadcasts sports that have only a passing interest in doping controls, her lack of self-awareness in an otherwise good article, plays into the darker elements looking to control world sports. Leaving the ginger stepchild out in the coalshed is not an option.

What happens next?

Expect to see more and more attacks on Russian sports. No matter what they do, it will not be enough. As with the Saddam Hussein regime in 2003, even allowing full inspections and complete compliance will not do.

This is not about truth or clean sport. What is happening now is part of a larger geopolitical game. If you have money and compliant governance, you get a TUE.

If you stay old school you get your money from the state and have dodgy doctors helping you out.

When Bradley Wiggins had sympathy for Maria Sharapova in March this year he may have been setting a precedent for what was coming down the line. 6 months later he was on BBC defending his use of TUE’s and dangerous substances.

As we missed yesterday he was then absolved without so much as a thought. As Paul Kimmage stated – “Now if this was Russia…”. But it’s not. They speak English and is the home of football.

There is a life and death struggle for WC2018 Russia. It will come down to how much evidence can be dredged up to prove, then Sports Minister, Vitali Mutko organised and ran a doping program.

As the lead on the WC2018 Russia project it would lead to a full on frenzy and football will return to its rightful home.

The sexual exploitation of children, doping, racism, sexism, hooliganism and Brexit will be forgotten as fanboys (and girls) with their laptops forget that irony is for the kitchen-y. Russia’s plan to host the World Cup in 2018 is going. You can search for Russia world cup tickets here – at Football Ticketpad.

The Author

Alan Moore

Russian-based sports journalist, commentator, radio host & consultant. Worked with major clubs including Hajduk Split, Eintracht Frankfurt, Lokomotiv and Spartak Moscow. Current host of Capital Sports 3.0, former international boxer and semi-professional footballer and FIFA World Cup commentator.

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