Fabio Capello: 'Sport is outside politics'
March 27, 2014 -- Updated 2033 GMT (0433 HKT)
- Fabio Capello says Russia should not be banned from the 2014 World Cup
- Two U.S. senators called for Russia to be kicked out of the tournament
- Italian coach Capello says sport and politics should not mix
- Russia's first game of the 2014 World Cup is against South Korea on June 17
Follow us at @WorldSportCNN and like us on Facebook
(CNN) -- Russia's annexation of Crimea should not affect the country's sports teams, says Russian national football team coach Fabio Capello.
The Italian, who previously coached England, has dismissed calls for Russia to be kicked out of the upcoming World Cup in Brazil and for it to be stripped of the right to host the 2018 tournament.
When asked by CNN if he understands why people could choose to boycott a World Cup in Russia, Capello said: "I don't understand why you would boycott the World Cup or other sport competitions.
"Sport is out of politics, for me. I don't understand when someone boycotts a competition."
Two U.S. senators recently wrote a letter to football's global governing body FIFA calling for Russia to be expelled from the 2014 World Cup while also being stripped of its right to host the 2018 event.
Oleg Luzhny enjoyed a successful football career playing for Torpedo Lutsk, SKA Karpaty Lviv, Dynamo Kiev, Arsenal and Wolverhampton Wanderers, while he represented both the USSR and Ukraine at international level before heading into management.
Oleg Luzhny: Ukraine football hero
Michel Platini says he had misgivings about traveling to Argentina for the 1978 World Cup but chose to go to a country under notorious military rule in order to air his views in public.
Two Russian politicians responded by sending a letter of their own to FIFA demanding the U.S. be kicked out of Brazil 2014 for previous aggressive actions against Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya and recent action in Syria.
Read: Platini backs Russia's right to play at World Cup
Political controversy -- Russia's anti-gay propaganda law and a $50 billion budget -- also dominated the build-up to the recent Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.
Russia topped the medal table with 13 gold medals; success which Capello says has ramped up the pressure on his players ahead of the World Cup -- which begins on June 12.
"We are euphoric because a lot of medals go to Russia," said Capello. "We are really proud of the results.
"But I've lived my career with pressure. I've managed really important teams and when you manage these teams you need to win -- the pressure is every day."
Russian president Vladimir Putin took a keen interest in the country's performance at Sochi 2014 and he will surely be hoping for a strong showing from the hosts at the 2018 World Cup.
If Russia is to compete when it welcomes the world, Capello says it must work on developing a new generation of talented players to replace an aging squad.
"They need to prepare the under-21s, under-20s to find new players," said the former AC Milan and Real Madrid coach. "I need to speak with the managers. We need to put some young players in the first team. This is the problem.
"We've got seven foreign players every game, and four Russian players. If one of the best players is injured, we lose a lot.
"But I always think positive, and I hope we will be the surprise in Brazil."
Read: Luzhny -- "World needs to support Ukraine in Russia conflict"
Read: Obama, EU united over Ukraine
Part of complete coverage on
August 15, 2014 -- Updated 1151 GMT (1951 HKT)
Last season Jose Mourinho wrote off the title of hopes of his "little horse" -- but now he has a squad primed to dethrone Manchester City.
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 1858 GMT (0258 HKT)
Luis Suarez will have to wait until late October to make his competitive Barcelona debut his ban for biting an opponent was partially upheld.
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 1649 GMT (0049 HKT)
Can Louis van Gaal cut it at Manchester United? Will Bayern conquer all in Germany? Is this PSG's year to win the Champions League?
August 7, 2014 -- Updated 1012 GMT (1812 HKT)
It's been a difficult year for Barcelona on and off the pitch, and the signing of Luis Suarez has only increased the prospect of more controversy.
August 11, 2014 -- Updated 1435 GMT (2235 HKT)
Germany striker Miroslav Klose, who scored a total of 16 goals at four World Cup finals, has announced his retirement from international football.
July 31, 2014 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
When celebrating an important anniversary, it's always good to look your best. At least that's theory for a Spanish football team's preseason tuxedo kit.
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 1103 GMT (1903 HKT)
While many top European clubs are targeting the U.S. market, French football is setting its sights on expanding into Asia -- with China playing a key role.
July 27, 2014 -- Updated 1229 GMT (2029 HKT)
Major League Soccer has snared another big name from England with former Chelsea star Frank Lampard committing his future to New York City FC.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1656 GMT (0056 HKT)
Europe's top clubs have booked a summer holiday to the U.S. -- but this is business not pleasure as they look to cash in on the World Cup afterglow.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1828 GMT (0228 HKT)
Former World Cup-winning captain Dunga is appointed coach of Brazil's national team for the second time, charged with restoring national pride.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1420 GMT (2220 HKT)
Colombia's World Cup star James Rodriguez continues Real Madrid's long tradition of signing "Galacticos."
July 21, 2014 -- Updated 1007 GMT (1807 HKT)
Germany's World Cup-winning captain Philipp Lahm has decided to go out at the top by announcing his retirement from international football.
Today's five most popular stories