Tiki Taka Politics

Written by: Jachin Khoo (21-U5), Jervis Ch’ng (21-U5), Joshua Tan (21-I1), Nigel Ng (21-A3)

Design by: Eris Kek (22-I6)

Jachin’s POV: 

Eight days and a war were all that was required for the International Olympic Committee to pull off an audacious stunt that wouldn’t have looked out of place on the slopes of the Winter Olympics. It was impossible to miss the IOC insisting that that politics has no place in sport during the 2022 Summer Games in Beijing. “With regards to the Uyghur population, the position of the IOC must be to give political neutrality,” said Thomas Bach in early February. Hence the question: why are crimes against the Uyghur people and human rights violations okay in China, but Russia’s invasion of Ukraine deemed unacceptable?

This all seems like a public relations display by sporting bodies, when it is now easier for them to speak out, they all claim the limelight by launching press conferences and giving long speeches and press statements as to why they decided to ban Russia from sporting competitions. This just shows their opportunistic nature to stay neutral when their interests are on the line, whilst swaying together with global opinion to get more positive reviews. 

This is why sports should never be associated with politics, from a group of loyal sports fans, please let sports and politics stay separate, if you are not willing to stand strongly by your principles!

Nigel’s POV:

While we understand that permitting Russia into the World Cup would allow them a global televised platform to justify the reasons for the invasion of Ukraine and therefore a possibility to gain some public sympathy, we would like to believe that politics should be excluded from the showcase of The Beautiful Game, although we know that results from such competitions can be an indirect display of soft power.

Throughout history, it is evident that football is used as a tool for peacekeeping, although there was a war between El Savador and Hungary that was indirectly caused by football. Furthermore, Russia was the host nation of the previous World Cup, where they performed pretty well ,seeing themselves out after a Quarter-Final exit to Croatia So excluding them from this World Cup would be unfair to Russian players who are not supportive of the invasion.

Now, I am sure we all have questions regarding the exact ruling by Fifa and Uefa, but what does this mean for Russian domestic teams that are involved in major European competitions like the UEL outside of the World Cup? Would this also mean that teams they are scheduled to play against them are given a free pass to the next round?

Jervis’ POV:

The recent Russia-Ukraine war has sparked massive debate on whether Russia should be in the World Cup, and I am one of those who firmly believe that Russia should be in the World Cup, and more broadly, sports should not be intertwined with politics in any way.

While sports and politics do have indirect relations with each other, one should not be used as a basis to judge the other. That is to say, politics should not be the main motivator of a sporting body’s decision. This would make sport essentially a channel for countries to drive their political motives, which would defeat the inherent aim of sport.

Joshua’s POV:

In conclusion, politics and football should not blend and Russia should still be allowed to play in the World Cup. It would be unfair to the athletes who have trained so hard only to be denied by their nationality, and for something that they have no involvement in whatsoever at all.

Author: The Origin*

With great power comes great responsibility.

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