News of Russia’s invasion of it’s neighbor Ukraine shook the world amid fears of a global wide war, a first for 77 years. Now , as with all wars both sides sight reasons for going into the conflict. The Ukraine side seemed the most noble as they feel they are defending their sovereignty against a foreign aggressor. The Russian side which has been condemned as the “bad” side is that they are protecting themselves against “Nazis” and “far right” groups as well as possible bases in Ukraine for military attacks on her. In my opinion both sides had a role to play in the war happening and it is a pity that Russia took that stance instead of going to the negotiating table first. But today I want talk about the role sport can play (if the role is powerful at all) in ending the war. Poland and Sweden have taken a lead by first the players refusing to take part in the World Cup play offs with Russia coming up. Their respective federations supported the decision which lands FIFA in a predicament. Formula One Russian Grand Prix has been cancelled , it was slated for Sochi. The Champions League Final in St Petersburg has been moved to Paris. Ingot to be honest, these are nothing more than protests which are unlikely to move a determined leader such as Putin. They are protests which have no effect whatsoever. For one, Russia is big enough to compete all by itself internally.
They can still hold matches and sports events all on their own and with an even bigger ally in China and India. The only thing that can end this war is by hitting the pocket hard with sanctions. Not even that can be effective as the risk of shooting oneself is high as many countries have exposure to Russian companies.What I would like to see is sports taking an diplomatic role. Let me give you one instance which comes to my mind. Dennis Rodman , the NBA legend broke barriers by going into North Korea, a sworn enemy of the US. He wined and dined with Kim Jong Un and received much criticism for it. But I see it as he is gaining favor with a dictator. This is important as Rodman can be used to sway Kim’s decisions should war break out between the two countries. Why don’t the best sportspersons in the world seek to see Putin and hold talks with him? I think this is better than merely condemning Russia’s actions on TV. I don’t advocate for not playing matches against Russia at all. Another moment in history that comes to my mind is in World War 1 the momentary unofficial truce between the two sides in the trenches. German and Allied troops had a brief Christmas day match at the front lines although both sides were supposed to shoot at each other at first sight. This at least showed that war could be avoided by sports and showed the power that sport can have on two warring sides. So I would like to see sides keep playing Russia just to show the politicians and the world that war is primarily a politicians undertaking, which means the people on both sides don’t necessarily agree to it