"Didn't see our players at the World Cup": Lukashenko reprimands sports minister
Created: 12/16/2022 13:11
By: Andreas Schmid
Alexander Lukashenko during a soccer match at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Belarus themselves have never qualified for a final tournament.
© Alexei Nikolsky/Imago
Belarus really isn't a footballing nation and is accordingly absent from the World Cup.
The ruler Lukashenko does not want to accept that.
Minsk – In the Fifa world rankings of the best national football teams, Belarus is ranked 97th, between Vietnam and Equatorial Guinea.
The country has never taken part in a major tournament, and Belarus has not qualified for the current World Cup in Qatar.
Ruler Alexander Lukashenko does not want to believe that.
Belarus not at the World Cup: "Did I just not watch enough?"
"The World Cup is currently underway," said Lukashenko at an appointment with his Minister of Sport Syargei Kavalchuk.
“But for some reason I didn't see our players there.
Or did I just not watch the World Cup enough?” “No, you watched it enough,” the minister replied.
The fact that Belarus is not there "scares me," said Lukashenko.
The national team was the last to fail in qualifying for the World Cup.
He described himself as an "ex-footballer who played a lot".
On the Belarusian President's website there are actually a few photos showing Lukashenko with the ball at his feet.
Then the “last dictator in Europe” settled accounts with football.
"The sport, like many others, is in a terrible state." He probably meant the state of Belarusian football.
Because Lukashenko promptly had an order for his minister.
"When I appointed you, I was hoping that you, a military man, as someone who likes and understands sports, would do something about the situation."
Lukashenko's sports policy: football as a "pro-government propaganda tool"
Sport politics plays a big role in autocratic countries like Belarus.
The national team's successes or the staging of sporting events should strengthen one's own politics.
Belarus tried that with the 2014 Ice Hockey World Championships. Last year, the finals were supposed to take place in Minsk again, but due to the political tensions in Belarus surrounding the scandalous presidential election, the Ice Hockey World Association withdrew Belarus from the tournament after public pressure.
Football also plays an important role in national sports policy.
An internal report revealed that the Lukashenko regime had systematically interfered in the leadership of the Belarusian Football Association and used sport as a "pro-government propaganda tool".
This was reported by the British
Even that is not enough for the World Cup qualification.