POLITICS: PennAve

Pair of GOP senators want Russia kicked out of World Cups

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Two Republican senators want to give Russian soccer the boot.

Sens. Mark Kirk of Illinois and Dan Coats of Indiana have urged FIFA, international soccer's governing body, to suspend Russia's membership "in light of Russia's military occupation of a sovereign Ukraine."

In a joint letter to FIFA President Joseph "Sepp" Blatter, the Republicans asked FIFA to bar Russia from participating in this year's World Cup in Brazil and to strip Russia of its right to host the tournament in 2018.

Kirk and Coats pointed out that FIFA bylaws state that “[d]iscrimination 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."

The pair also cited as precedent FIFA's expelling of Yugoslavia from the 1992 European Championship and the 1994 World Cup over the country's civil war and political breakup.

"Since Russia has similarly displayed a brazen disrespect for fundamental principles of FIFA and international law, I hope you will agree that it does not deserve the honor of either hosting the World Cup or participating in one," the senators wrote. "We ask that a more deserving World Cup 2018 bid should be re-considered instead."

Russia, currently No. 22 in FIFA's world rankings, is slated to play Algeria, Belgium and South Korea in Group H of the 2014 World Cup that begins in June.

FIFA in 2010 awarded the 2018 tournament to Russia, which beat out England and joint bids by Portugal and Spain, and Belgium and the Netherlands.

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