Pair of Explosions Hits World Cup City
One of the cities scheduled to host matches as part of the 2018 World Cup has been hit by a pair of deadly terror attacks in the last two days.
At least 31 people are dead in Volgograd, Russia after explosions at a railway station on Sunday and on a bus on Monday.
The local organizing committee for the 2018 World Cup said they are “deeply saddened by the tragic incidents.”
“Our deepest condolences go out to the families and friends of those who have been killed or injured in this tragedy,” the committee said in a statement posted at FIFA.com.
A spokesman for Russia’s main investigative agency says the bombs used in the two attacks were similar.
“That confirms the investigators’ version that the two terror attacks were linked,” Vladimir Markin told the AP.
Both incidents were suicide bombings, with the perpetrators in both cases among the dead.
The city of about one million people, a key transport hub for southern Russia, is linked to Russia’s volatile North Caucasus region by numerous bus routes.
Spectator safety is a chief concern for organizers of the World Cup, as well as the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. Volgograd is approximately 400 miles from Sochi.
French Striker Controversial Celebration
West Bromwich Albion striker Nicolas Anelka agreed he will not use the controversial “quenelle” gesture as a goal celebration again.
Anelka said he gave the salute, a French anti-establishment symbol popularized by French comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, in dedication to his friend Dieudonne.
Anelka had been accused of using a “disgusting anti-Semitic” gesture by the French sports minister, adding to the striker’s controversial career.
The “quenelle” is described as an inverted Nazi-salute and has become an internet sensation in France. Dieudonne has been linked to the French far-right party, the National Front, and has been investigated for hate speech.
“The club has asked Nicolas not to perform the gesture again. Nicolas immediately agreed to adhere to this request,” said a statement released by West Bromwich Albion.
The Football Association said Saturday it would look into Anelka’s actions and could suspend him. West Bromwich Albion said they will aid the FA’s inquiry, as well as performing one of their own.