World Cup Goes To ‘Mafia’

A Russian researcher working for a member of the UK parliament is only being booted out of England as revenge for the country not getting to stage the 2018 World Cup, according to Russian media.

Ekaterina Zatuliveter, who worked for Lib Dem MP Mike Hancock, a member of the defense select committee, was arrested and served with a deportation on the grounds of national security.

The 25-year-old daughter of a successful Russian businessman had access to confidential documents and was accused on using her position to gain even more sensitive information.

“This all looks like petty revenge on Russia for the football,” said Russian tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda. News of Zatuliveter’s expulsion came just hours after International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA) announced that in 2018 the world’s premier international soccer competition will be staged in cities including Moscow, St. Petersburg, Volgograd, Yaroslavl, Krasnodar, Nizhny Novgorod, and maybe even Yekaterinburg.

“They just want to announce a big victory over Russian spies,” a senior source from Russia’s FSB security service told many of the national papers, as England smarted because its bid attracted support from only two of the 22 FIFA delegates.

Britain and much of its media reacted badly to the defeat, although many blamed The Sunday Times and BBC news programme “Panorama” for running stories that at least a few of the FIFA delegates are lining their pockets by selling votes for cash.

Some UK papers argued that Russia is a risky choice because it doesn’t have the infrastructure to stage the competition. Moscow suggests there is something like “an eight-year plan” to put everything in place.

Only Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium meets FIFA’s World Cup requirements, and even then must upgrade its capacity from 80,000 to 90,000 and replace its artificial turf with natural grass. At least half of the other dozen stadiums will need to be built from scratch.

Russia also needs to upgrade airports, rail lines and highways to move teams, officials and hordes of fans among 13 cities spread over thousands of miles – from close to the Polish border to the other side of The Ural mountains.

Much of the UK media touched on the amount of corruption that may result from awarding the competition to Russia, particularly the Daily Mail, which – apparently incandescent with rage – proclaimed that FIFA has “given the World Cup to the mafia.”

The 2022 World Cup will be staged in Qatar.