By Jeremy Herb - 03/07/14 02:22 PM EST
Two Republican senators say that Russia should get booted from the World Cup for its invasion of Crimea.
Sens. Mark Kirk (Ill.) and Dan Coats (Ind.) wrote a letter to FIFA President Joseph Platter on Friday calling on him to kick Russia out of the 2014 World Cup and strip it from hosting the soccer tournament in 2018.
“We ask that a more deserving World Cup 2018 bid should be re-considered instead,” they said.
The senators cited FIFA barring Yugoslavia from participating in the 1992 European Championship and the 1994 World Cup as a precedent.
More recently, however, North Korea was allowed to play in the 2010 World Cup, despite its reputation on the international stage.
“According to Article 3 of the FIFA Statutes: ‘[d]iscrimination of any kind against a country, private person or group of people on account of ethnic origin, gender, language, religion, politics or any other reason is strictly prohibited and punishable by suspension or expulsion,’” Kirk and Coats wrote.
Russia is one of 32 teams set to play in this year’s World Cup, which kicks off in Brazil in June.
The Russian team is in Group H with Belgium, Algeria and South Korea, which means that Russia could face off against the United States in the first round of the knockout stage if both emerge from group play.
Russia was awarded the 2018 World Cup in 2010.