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Anorak | Arsenal in Russia, a rerun of the Polonium derby and World Cup boycotts are for football haters

Arsenal in Russia, a rerun of the Polonium derby and World Cup boycotts are for football haters

by | 16th, March 2018

polonium arsenal

 

The quarter-final of football’s Europa League pits Arsenal against CSKA Moscow.

There has been no media balls about the English club boycotting the two-legged match, as there have been copious words on England not attending this summer’s World Cup in light of Moscow’s involvement in the attempted murders of Russian exiles Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter, Yulia, 33, in a chemical attack in Salisbury.

Any debate about England’s participation in this summer’s tournament invites us to wonder why now and not when the Russians allegedly secured their hosting of the tournament through bribes; annexed Crimea; the time Russian club Spartak Moscow referred to its black players as “chocolates”; or when, having seen the extreme violence after a match between England and Russia in Marseille in 2016, “British government officials” feared the fighting that left two England fans in comas was sanctioned by the Kremlin – a prominent Russian parliamentarian hardly quietened such notions when he  tweeted: “Well done lads, keep it up!”?

Labour politician John Woodcock wants “MPs to push for concerted international action over the World Cup… It should [a boycott] be on the table because of the appalling magnitude of what Russia has done.”

So Harry Kane is sacrificed to prove a politician’s point. All the players who dreamt of playing at a World Cup finals miss out because politicians and wonks who see football less as a fun leisure pursuit than a tool for top-down moral education want it.

But at least Arsenal can play on, and take their chances with the all-powerful, conniving Russians – who have moved on rapidly from bringing down the West through a ‘farm’ of nerds on Facebook and twitter, to unleashing chemical weapons in Wiltshire. And the Gunners might have something to fear. The last time the two clubs met in 2007, traces of polonium (the poison used to kill ex-Russian spy Alexander Litvenenko that very same day) were later found at the Emirates…

 



Posted: 16th, March 2018 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports Comment | TrackBack | Permalink