Monday, December 28, 2015 11:13 am
The eight-year suspensions handed to FIFA President, Sepp Blatter and UEFA Chief, Michel Platini will have no effect on Russia staging the 2018 World Cup, Sports Minister and Organising Committee head, Vitaly Mutko has claimed.
Blatter and Platini were given the bans by the FIFA Ethics Committee earlier this week for breaches surrounding a “disloyal payment” of CHF 2 million (£1.3 million/$2.1 million/€1.8 million) made by the Swiss to the Frenchman in February 2011, with the exact charges against the pair due to be announced at next year’s Extraordinary Elective Congress in Zurich on 26 February.
Ethics judges ruled that Blatter broke rules on conflicts of interest, breach of loyalty and offering gifts, while Platini breached regulations on conflict of interest and loyalty. The two football administrators have vowed to appeal the eight-year-ban claiming that they did no wrong.
Mutko’s comments come despite Blatter, who will step down from his role at next year’s Congress, claiming an agreement was in place to give Russia the 2018 World Cup before the vote took place.
Russia was successful in its bid after winning 13 votes in the second round, beating Portugal and Spain’s joint effort, which garnered seven votes. The Netherlands and Belgium polled four votes in the first round, which saw England knocked out with just two.
Both the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bid processes are being investigated as part of a widespread probe into corruption within world football’s governing body.
“I think this will not affect us and preparations for the World Cup,” Mutko, a member of the FIFA Executive Committee, Insidegames.biz quoted Mutko to have said at an ITAR-TASS news conference. “I see no problems here. We make regular reports on preparations and get approval. There are no reasons to strip us of the World Cup.” Mutko, also the President of the Russian Football Union, said he “deeply regrets” the situation around Blatter and Platini and that “it deeply upsets that such faith fell upon Blatter, who worked in FIFA for 40 years”.
Despite the awarding of the tournament to Russia being shrouded in controversy amid accusations of corruption, world football’s governing body has given the nation “12 out of a possible 10 points” for their work in their preparations for the event in three years’ time.
The better score was supposedly awarded for work being ahead of schedule.
“Back in 2013 the Russian government already adopted a special programme, which included about 300 facilities,” Mutko said.
“They are all currently under construction paid by the federal budget. In addition we have added up approximately the same amount of regional infrastructure facilities. In general – the work is currently underway in all possible directions, everything goes in line with the announced schedule and everything is under our control.”
Mutko revealed last week that their updated budget for the competition stands at RUB4 billion (£38 million/$57 million/€52 million).
A total of 11 cities – Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara – will stage matches at the tournament, which is due to run from 14 June to 15 July.