The legal dossier is set to be presented to FIFA with arguments in favor of relocating the 2018 World Cup from Russia to another country. Radio Sputnik discussed this with Dr. David Lowe, terrorism and security expert.
Dr. David Lowe: Will it be successful? There’s no element of doubt whether it will. I think its quite sad that we’ve come to this stage. My view is I’d rather see more it more evident that there was Russian Government involvement. I have difficulty personally in believing, at the moment, from what’s being released that the Russian Government would actually sanction an attack on Skripal and his daughter.
Sputnik: Can you tell us about this organization that’s actually launching this bid, this 89up?
Dr. David Lowe: There seems to be an anti-Russian bias in this group. To me personally I’m always open-minded. And when you have issues like this, I think there seems to be, certainly in Europe a lot of anti-Russian feeling and I think it’s trying to make political hate [using] a sporting event.
We saw similar things I think with the games in Sochi. This is a sporting event — that’s the primary issue. I’m looking forward to watching it and it’s a sporting event and I think this is the problem. You can’t really mix politics with sports.
Sputnik: But opponents of the World Cup have actually warned British fans that they should be careful travelling to Russia. This is despite there being a successful Confederations Cup in 2017. What do you think these warnings are really based on, and are people really heeding these warnings?
Dr. David Lowe: It’s a sporting event. Ok so the UK government has come out saying there’ll be no politicians and no members of the royal family there but will that make a great difference towards the performances? I don’t think so. And I think anyone, any travelling fans is always being an issue of potential hooliganism, on both sides.
I personally wouldn’t have a warning saying that there’ll be anti-British feeling or there’ll be anti-English feelings in the English team. Anti-English feelings the security will be trying to make sure it’s safe, it’s a great event to go to. It was so sad that Boris Johnson was ill-advised by comparing the World Cup to the 1936 Olympics. I mean come on, that was Adolph Hitler and the Nazi party, we know what that was about. President Putin has just has election…
Sputnik: And yet that was not boycotted right?
Dr. David Lowe: That wasn’t boycotted and there was still the British team that went there. I think it’s this ill-advised political rhetoric that’s going too far and hopefully, you know, let’s try and slow down this impetus that’s moving and that's picking up. Just take a pause for a second and start having a bit of dialogue with each other.
I think you just can’t beat that. And as I said, if we go back to the original cause of this, why didn’t the UK government give a small sample over to the Russian government. Why wasn’t there some dialogue, somewhere along that line, you know. There are a number of reasons that could be behind it. Have it be international because then that takes away any accusation of bias. It would crush any rumors, speculations or anyone trying to make some political gain.
Sputnik: There’s actually a small amount of people who are saying that the Brits just want to steal the World Cup from the Russians. What do you think about that? They want it relocated to the UK. Is Britain ready for that, by the way?
Dr. David Lowe: Perhaps there still is some 'sour grapes' from when all of those bids were put in years ago, we had David Beckham and was it… Prince William who were heading our campaign to get the World Cup but we lost out to Russia and to Qatar. That’s the end of it — you put your bid in, ok, you do whatever's going on but that’s it, you have to take it on the chin. On the other side, with England actually gaining the World Cup, I hope we do it but I think there are some better teams, so this is again there’s no fear of the actual trophy arriving in this country.
Sputnik: Going back to this whole thing with Skripal I mean it’s very interesting also they have now found the highest concentration of this agent on the door and it had then been transferred from the door into other locations possibly by the Skripals touching their door knob and then transferring as it as they moved around the city.
The first things that we were hearing about this investigation was that actually they decided that it had come from Russia in the suitcase of the daughter. The investigation has taken a very different turn and I’m just really wondering why it wasn’t completed, prior to taking steps.
Dr. David Lowe: Before you take these steps, first make sure this irrefutable evidence that’s beyond reasonable doubt. This has occurred and ok so the accusations say the Russian government is to blame. Where’s the evidence. I keep saying that. The allegations are that this is the FSB who’s behind it, to me that would be rather amateurish by the FSB or any security service. Let’s be honest there are events that do go on; clandestine events.
Information’s out that could be false innuendos being made; two and two being brought together and getting five. We’re talking about internationalism, we’re talking about diplomacy here, we’re talking about getting on with each other and there are other serious issues we can internationally work to resolve.
Discredit the Russian Government and we'll have what we've got now that’s if the case has succeeded. you’ve got to be open minded while it’s going on, but let’s have some concrete evidence. We haven’t got it and I think that’s a major problem.
The views and opinions expressed by Dr. David Lowe are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.