Russia could be stripped of their rights to host the 2018 World Cup, as part of sanctions from several European nations over the country's involvement in the conflict in Ukraine.
European nations have discussed hitting Russia with sporting sanctions including a boycott of Vladimir Putin's 2018 football World Cup. The measures are meant as a penalty for the country's role in the Ukraine crisis.
Moscow could also face suspension from Formula One races and other major sporting events, under long-term plans circulated among European diplomats alongside proposals for immediate economic sanctions.
On Saturday, leaders of the 28-nation EU asked the European Commission, the bloc's executive arm, to draw up new sanctions in response to claims that Russia has sent troops into neighbouring Ukraine. Back in July, German politicians had also considered stripping Russia of the tournament.
One source source told the news agency AFP that the World Cup boycott idea was in a "working document discussed by the member states" detailing options for the economic sanctions, "but as a possibility for later on, not now." The Spanish newspaper "El Pais" also reported that the World Cup 2018 boycott is on the list of sanctions.
The reports came a day after FIFA president Joseph Blatter, speaking in Kitzbühel, Austria, showed his support for the World Cup being in Russia in 2018.
"We are not questioning the World Cup in Russia," he said, adding that boycotts have "never achieved anything."
Statement from German government
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, sounded skeptical about any move against the 2018 World Cup when asked about it in Berlin on Wednesday.
Instead, EU nations would seek to toughen the existing measures, which also included an export ban on high tech oil exploration equipment, Seibert said.
"It is now 2014, the World Cup will happen in 2018, so I don't think that this is something we have to discuss here today," he said.
al/rd (AFP, AP, dpa)