Australian football legend Craig Foster has urged world sport to turn its back on Russia following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
A number of sports, countries, and organisations have announced a boycott of Russian athletes and teams since the president Vladimir Putin invaded their eastern Europe neighbour last week.
Speaking to Stan Sport, Foster was asked whether it was fair that Russian athletes should be essentially penalised for the decisions of a government.
The football great wasn’t backwards about coming forward.
“I think it should be pretty straightforward. The people who are the victims here are the people of Ukraine,” Foster said.
FIFA, UEFA suspend Russia from international football
“There are people dying. There’s 350,000 people having to leave, and they are the ones that football, and sport, and all of us, should be most concerned about.
“And while it is disappointing for athletes, in my view, that’s actually not the point.
“They should be kicked out immediately. I think the Russian clubs should be kicked out as well – you’ve got Spartak Moscow playing in the Europa league.
“I applaud the position by the Polish federation, I think they’ve shown the leadership that FIFA haven’t… and no one expects that leadership from FIFA actually.
“So thankfully, for once, the federations have stepped up and said ‘it doesn’t matter what cosmetic changes you (FIFA) make to this Russian team, we’re not playing against them’.”
Foster also said the Premier League should have vetted Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich – a Russian billionaire – before allowing him to be a part of the world’s biggest club football competition.
Abramovich is accused of “sportswashing” – using his affiliation with Chelsea to smooth his public image.
Since the Russian invasion, he has handed control of Chelsea to the trustees of the club’s charitable foundation.
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