With the Winter Olympics in Sochi getting underway and the increasing number of scandals coming from Russia it has made me realise that Russia is a very poor choice to host the World Cup. The problems in Russia have gone under the radar in the footballing world as many people are more focused on the problems in Qatar.
The workers in Sochi have been abused - low-skilled migrants get $500 a month, working 12-hour shifts with no contracts, safety training or insurance. Even so, wages are not always paid in full, are often delayed and sometimes not paid at all, according to Human Rights Watch.
Some employers withhold workers’ passports, so they cannot leave the site. Last year at least 25 people died in accidents and many more were injured.
Sochi has also cost around £50 billion which makes it the most expensive Olympic Games, summer or winter and also is more than all the previous Winter Olympics combined. There has also been a mass extinction of stray dogs in the city too.
There is also the issue of homophobia in Russia, which has been thrust into the limelight yet again when the mayor of Sochi said: "Homosexuals are not acceptable in the Caucasus; we don't have them in our city." Furthermore last year Putin passed a law banning “propaganda of
non-traditional sexual practices” among minors.
As well as homophobia there is a big problem with racism in Russia, in December 2012, a fan group sent an open letter to the big Russian club it supports, Zenit St. Petersburg, asking that it refrain from signing black or gay players.
Also after fans of CSKA Moscow racially abused Yaya Toure during the Champions League encounter in October between the Russian side and Manchester City, the club began to deny Toure’s claims. This led the Ivorian midfielder to suggest that black players may boycott the 2018 World Cup and if that happened the 2018 World Cup would be a travesty.
All of the above reasons are why Russia is a bad choice to host the World Cup and it is a farce that a country that restricts human rights was chosen to host a major sporting event over the likes of England and the joint bids from Belgium-Netherlands and Portugal-Spain.
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