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Senators pressure FIFA to strip Russia of the 2018 World Cup

SOCHI, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 24: Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during the Valdai discussion club on October 24, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images

Thirteen senators from both parties want FIFA, the global soccer association, to strip Russia's right to the 2018 World Cup, and said letting Russia host the tournament would only reward President Vladimir Putin when he should instead be punished for his actions in and around Ukraine.

"Allowing Russia to host the FIFA World Cup inappropriately bolsters the prestige of the Putin regime at a time when it should be condemned and provides economic relief at a time when much of the international community is imposing economic sanctions," the senators wrote.

SOCHI, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 24: Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during the Valdai discussion club on October 24, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images Russian President Vladimir Putin will host the World Cup in 2018, but several senators say the soccer tournament should be moved elsewhere because of Russia's actions in and around Ukraine. Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images

The letter said masked Russian troops began a "dismemberment of Ukraine" last year, and said dozens of countries have since imposed sanctions on Russia, including all FIFA member countries.

"It is unacceptable that while nearly half of the 2014 World Cup participants have joined the international sanctions regime to counter Russian aggression, FIFA would not even consider allowing its members to vote on moving the 2018 competition to a country that respects the shared principles of FIFA and international law."

The letter asked FIFA to "deny the Putin regime the privilege of hosting the 2018 World Cup and make preparations for an alternate host country."

FIFA has given no indication that it would reassess the decision to hold the World Cup in Russia. The World Cup is held every four years, and was held in Brazil last year.

The Senate letter was signed by Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as well as Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas), Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), among others. Read it here:

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