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Sport and politics

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, December 7
FIFA (the International Federation of the Football Associations) has decided that Russia will host the Football World Cup Championship in 2018.

Legend has it that during the Olympic Games in ancient Greece, there would be a moratorium on war. In 2008 just as the opening ceremony was taking place of the Olympic Games in Beijing Russian tanks were entering Georgia’s sovereign territory and Russian planes were bombing the peaceful population inside Georgia.

Interestingly, the Winter Olympic Games 2014 will be held in Sochi – approximately just 50 kilometres from where Russian troops launched an attack on the peaceful population of Kodori Gorge forcing them to leave their homes; this was also during the Beijing Olympic Games.

No more sentiments gentlemen. Life goes on.

Russia is a powerful country and does not care about international opinion. To date, the International Olympic Committee has not even considered the possibility of canceling the Sochi Olympic Games because of the fact that Russia scandalously violated international legislation, conquered and occupied its neighbour’s territories. And Russia will still be illegally occupying these territories which are very close to the site where the Winter Olympics will be held, when the Games are being competed in Sochi.

Forget about any cancelation. The Olympic Committee is not going to change its decision. Russia pays big money and as the rumour goes, it was very generous in its promises to FIFA members who voted against England, Spain & Portugal and Belgium & Holland in favour of Russia. The scandal of FIFA executive committee members involved in corruption continues and indirectly or directly such decisions and concessions over Russia encourage it to carry on its imperialistic policy with a long term perspective and not only towards Georgia.

The Football World Cup Championship in 2018 is far off. The Georgian national football team has very little chance of qualifying for the final championship, so whether it will boycott the final tournament or not, it is not yet known. However, if there are any prospects of a boycott, then our players’ motivation will be next to nothing.

Meanwhile the 2014 Sochi Olympics are approaching and so far Georgia is not considering the issue of boycotting that competition. Even if it does participate, the Georgian team has very little chance of achieving high results in the Winter Games.

There are some voices which very modestly suggest boycotting the Sochi Winter Olympics, while the loudest protests come from Circassian national organisations. According to these organisations, Sochi is located exactly at the site where, in the 19th century, the Russian Tsarist Army defeated the Circassian army and settlements initiating the genocide of Circassians. It is interesting to recall here that Georgian Parliament could even consider the issue of Circassian genocide, though it is unlikely that it will influence any boycott of the 2014 Games.

Meanwhile Russian officials feel very confident about the Olympics. Russian Parliament international issues committee Chairman, Konstantin Kosachev is sure that nobody will frustrate the Sochi Olympics. According to him, this is the goodwill of the international community – the decision was made taking into consideration different issues and it is not liable to changes, thinks Kosachev. Georgia also has other reasons for its protests: the opening of international flights to Sukhumi airport – Georgian territory that is closed according to international regulations, though flights from Russia are already being conducted there. Georgia is also protesting at the fact that Russian construction companies are taking inert materials, sand and gravel from Abkhazian territory to Sochi construction sites. This is inflicting serious damage to the environmental infrastructure in Abkhazia; damaging seaside resorts in Abkhazian territory.

So far it seems Russia is rather confident and self assured and as the ancient Latin saying goes: money does not smell. So, Russian money does not smell. Neither oil or blood. International sports organisations appear not to want to mix sports with politics. So the ancient Greeks were wrong to stop fighting: if you can afford to fight, fight any time. If you are big and rich, you can win and nobody cares.