Russia’s boycott of the World Cup could be a blow to Russia

Russia’s boycott of the World Cup could be a blow to Russia

Paris joins big screen boycott of World Cup games from Qatar

Cristhian Castro / Associated PressThe World Cup’s final is set to take place in November 2018 in Russia.

Updated 1:08 pm, Sunday, September 29, 2018

The World Cup is a huge annual event with more than 68 events across more than 30 host countries that attract millions of fans and global media coverage — and the last four will be played in Russia.

But Russia has had a troubled and controversial history in hosting the World Cup. A number of fans, politicians and sports authorities have targeted Russia and other countries at the event, criticizing everything from the construction of stadiums to local policies.

On Friday, thousands of Russian soccer fans rallied in central Moscow in support of their team, the United Arab Emirates, which has been banned from competing in next year’s tournament because of diplomatic tensions.

Qatar, meanwhile, has already held three of the tournament’s opening matches.

The Qatari government has issued a statement inviting a “non-violent, civilized” boycott of any Qatar World Cup games by Russian fans.

Russia’s football federation has already said it will not accept any calls for a boycott.

But if the final of the tournament is played in Russia, the country where fans have faced protests, bans and legal battles since the 1990s, a number of Russians say they may have to take a stand.

At least two men who have been arrested have expressed support on social media for a boycott against Russia.

Last month, Russia banned the Russian flag from Olympic venues in Pyeongchang, south of Seoul, for the remainder of the games and fined the IOC, FIFA and the organizers $9.6 million.

The decision was applauded by some Russian sports journalists, who pointed out the irony in the world’s biggest football tournament being held in a country where Russia and the U.S. have long been the biggest opponents.

“When these are not Russian flags, it’s really interesting. The people on Facebook and Twitter are not even Russians — they’re some people living in Russia,” one news blogger said. Another added: “We’re not against Qatar; in fact, we are supporting them. But it makes me feel sick that

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