German Football Association (DFB) president Reinhard Grindel has played down talk of a 2018 World Cup boycott, amid ongoing frictions between Russia and the western world over the conflict in Syria.
Tensions have risen over the past week after the United States suspended talks with Russia and accused the Kremlin of being part of a Syrian Air Force operation in the bombing of the besieged city of Aleppo.
There have been calls for Russia to be stripped of the 2018 World Cup due to its role in the Syria conflict, the ongoing war in Ukraine and its state-sponsored doping program, which has links to FIFA executive committee member Vitaly Mutko, who also serves as the nation's Sports Minister.
However, in mid-September FIFA president Gianni Infantino said football should see the 2018 World Cup "as a chance [for Russia] rather than trying to be a negative."
And speaking to Bild on Monday, DFB chief Grindel also cooled talks of a possible World Cup boycott.
"The sorrow of many innocent people in Aleppo and other Syrian cities is unbearable, and has to finally come to an end," Grindel said when asked if he believes Russia are still suitable hosts for the World Cup. "Just like it is decisive there is a fast and binding peace solution for Syria, sport has to act in unifying and peacefully bringing together people beyond all political and religious borders.
"In this context, I do not think it makes sense to boycott the 2018 World Cup, even more so because it had no positive effect in Moscow 1980 [when the western world boycotted the Olympic Games]."
Grindel, a former member of the German parliament for the governing party CDU, added the DFB would rather address the human rights situation "in personal talks with the World Cup organising committee and the Russian FA."