Blurred lines between politics and sport

Blurred lines between politics and sport
Russian President Vladimir Putin gives a speech during the 68th FIFA Congress at the Moscow Expocentre on June 13, 2018 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo: Getty Images)

Soft political power of World Cup now in Putin’s armoury

Last week, during a lengthy and likely scripted phone-in with Vladmir Putin on Russian TV, the president took the opportunity to further blur what lines are left between sport and politics. Asked about the on-going tension and conflict next door, he said that any military action on their part during this festival of football would have “very serious consequences for Ukrainian statehood”. It was another use of this tournament as a demonstration of soft power, and there'll be many more.

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