ZURICH - Russia will not take part in any
horse trading for votes as it bids for the right to stage the
2018 World Cup, Russian bid chairman Vitaly Mutko said on
In a feisty performance at a news briefing two days before
FIFA decides on the hosts for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments,
Mutko, a FIFA executive committee member who will vote on the
outcome, distanced himself from any alliance or collusion
between nations to swap votes.
He refused to confirm that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir
Putin would be part of Russia's final presentation team in
Zurich ahead of FIFA's decisions on the two finals on Thursday.
"He will speak for himself," said Mutko. Asked if he would
speak from Moscow or Zurich, he replied: "I cannot answer that
question, but it will not be a question tomorrow."
He was more forthcoming when asked about potential
collusion, saying any agreements to trade votes would be unjust.
A recent ethics committee report found no evidence of
illegitimate collusion between Spain/Portugal, who are bidding
for the 2018 finals against Russia, England and
Belgium/Netherlands, and Qatar, who are bidding for 2022.
However, the subject remains a hot topic of conversation in
Zurich, where football's powerbrokers are gathering ahead of
Thursday's vote, and FIFA president Sepp Blatter said earlier
this month collusion was inevitable with two World Cups being
awarded at the same time.
"Russia has presented its bid and has not entered into any
collusion or agreement with anyone," Mutko said. "Our bid is
clean and honest.
"We do not support the idea of any alliance or collusion. We
would prefer these alliances not to happen and Russia would be
very concerned about possible alliances.
"If some countries, who have not made much effort to promote
their bid, suddenly become favourites then that situation is not
Mutko downplayed a report by consultants McKinsey into the
potential revenue each country could expect to make for FIFA by
hosting the finals.
The report, which will be studied by the executive committee
on Wednesday, placed England at the top of the 2018 bidders,
estimating that it would meet FIFA's target figure, while Russia
finished lowest of the four bidders with a revenue estimate of
86 per cent of the target.
"The report says that that Russia is perfectly capable of
hosting the World Cup and is based on what could happen
now and not in eight years time," Mutko added.
Mutko also emphasised the impact Putin had had on Russia's
bid, saying the most "direct support" for the bid had come from
Russia's Prime Minister.
"He is involved in our bid daily," he said. "This morning we
have already discussed issues concerning our bid and there are
three additional guarantees - the stadium construction
guarantees, free travel between host cities where the matches
will take place and visa free entry for all fans in possession
of a ticket. As far as our bid is concerned, we have done
everything we can."
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