- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Looking to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin for the unrest in eastern Ukraine, a pair of U.S. senators say world soccer officials should think about stripping Russia’s hosting rights for the 2018 World Cup.

ABC News reports that Sens. John McCain, Arizona Republican, and Chris Murphy, Connecticut Democrat, would like to see the international community put pressure on FIFA, the sport’s global governing body, to reconsider its plans.

“If in the face of a downed airliner, in the face of crippling sanctions from the European Union, Putin thumbs his nose at the international community and continues to send in arms and personnel into eastern Ukraine, then I’m not sure how you reward this guy and his government with a major, international competition,” Mr. Murphy said, ABC reported.

The most recent World Cup just wrapped up in Brazil, and Russia’s turn is not for another four years. But stadium preparations are underway, and FIFA has rejected calls to move the tournament by arguing dialog around the issue “can achieve positive change,” according to ABC.

Earlier this year, two Republican senators called on FIFA to prevent Russia’s national team from playing in the 2014 edition in light of Russian’s incursion into the Crimea.

Their request was rebuffed, and Russia failed to make it out of the group stage in Brazil.