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Russia World Cup organisers move on from bid claims

Russia 2018 chief executive Alexey Sorokin insists recent allegations around the country’s World Cup bid are behind them.

Allegations of corruption have surrounded the bid, and that of Qatar 2022, and both have drawn even greater attention since the arrest of FIFA officials in May.

Russia and Qatar deny wrongdoing and Sorokin, the chief executive of the 2018 World Cup’s local organising committee, said it was time to move on.

“The biggest issues are metaphysical, they are the stereotypes that we have to live with which exist in other societies about Russia,” Sorokin said.

“We have said many times that we are still puzzled by the discussions of the bid process, that are still active while we’re deep in the process of preparation of the World Cup.

“But there are no infrastructure challenges, there are no challenges in terms of our relations with FIFA administration. We will work together very well.

“There is no lack of government support for this project in our country. There is a large number of federal ministries and agencies which are lining up together in their support of the World Cup.”

Sorokin added: “For us this line is far behind us.

“We have answered all of the questions in this regard, we have submitted all of the evidence, we have undergone an investigation conducted at FIFA’s request and there is nothing more to say about this.”

Meanwhile, racism in Russian football continues to be a worry after Ufa midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong was allegedly racially abused during a league match against Spartak Moscow.

Sorokin hopes punishments handed out can help solve the problem.

“It [racism] is a concern. We will certainly strengthen our efforts in this regard,” he said.

“A large part of these efforts lies with the Russian Football Union, especially when it comes to the Premier League and the games because there should be delineation between the World Cup and what happens in the Premier League. We cannot simply combine the two together.

“But I’m sure with properly educating fans and with inevitable sanctions against those who commit these wrongdoings, we hope this situation improves drastically.”

Fri 24 Jul, 2015
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