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Blatter again...

Interesting comment by the FIFA president though I'm inclined to think that his comments regarding England and Russia are nothing more than an attempt to distract from the fact that England appears to be a heavy favorite for the 2018 Tournament. If England is awarded 2018 as I expect would FIFA consider giving 2022 to the Russians if they are truly that impressed with their bid?

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FIFA team to inspect Russia's World Cup bid

(AFP) – 1 hour ago

MOSCOW — A delegation of FIFA inspectors arrived on Monday in Saint Petersburg to evaluate the viability of Russia's bid to host the 2018 or the 2022 World Cup.

The six-man board, led by the Chilean Football Federation President Harold Mayne-Nicholls, landed at St Petersburg's Pulkovo airport to open a round of visits to the country's proposed World Cup host cities.

They were joined by Russian Football Union (RFU) chief Sergei Fursenko and Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, who are set to present the country's bid to FIFA delegates.

Russia is the inspectors' fifth stop in their tour of nine countries that are bidding to host the 2018 or 2022 tournaments.

The FIFA delegation has already visited Japan and South Korea, Australia and have also tested the Netherlands-Belgium joint bid.

The visitors will start their inspection in St Petersburg from the construction site of the city's new arena at Krestovsky island, which is supposed to host a possible World Cup semi-final.

On Tuesday the delegation is expected to visit the country's capital Moscow to inspect the city's facilities and the event's main arena -- the five-star Luzhniki stadium, which hosted the Champions League final in 2008.

They will also attend the major presentation of the country's bid at the Russian government's reception house.

On Wednesday, the inspectors are set to visit Kazan, the hometown of Russia's reigning football champions Rubin and the southern resort city of Sochi, the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympics.

On Thursday, the FIFA inspectors will return to Moscow to hold a news conference before their departure.

Russia's bid book suggested the World Cup would be staged by 13 cities grouped into four clusters, which are situated mainly in the European part of the country.

Kaliningrad and Saint Petersburg were included into the northern cluster, while Moscow and Moscow region formed the central cluster.

Volga river cluster consists of Yaroslavl, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, Kazan, Saransk and Volgograd, while the southern cluster comprises Rostov, Krasnodar and Sochi.

Yekaterinburg city in the country's Ural region was also included into the possible host cities list.


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Fifa has warned World Cup bidder Russia they must begin building their stadiums and infrastructure immediately if they are to host the finals in 2018 or 2022.

Inspectors from football's world governing body have completed a four-day visit to Russia.

"Work needs to start now to guarantee everything will be in place in time," said Fifa's Harold Mayne-Nicholls.

Up to 10 new stadiums could be built with Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium the proposed venue for the final.

Mayne-Nicholls, who heads Fifa's inspection committee, added that the visit to the four potential host cities of St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kazan and Sochi had been "excellent".


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Hmmmmm, if it wasn't for the 2018 spin of 'Europe turns', I'd say that 2022 would be Russia's then, since that would be plenty of time to have the stadias ready. Unless FIFA would be willing to hold 3 consecutive tournaments outside Europe. But that doesn't seem very likely that they would.

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Russia definitely seems stronger for 2022, but we shall see how things play out. Maybe Russia 2030?

FIFA already said that 2018 will be Europe !

So Russia is strong for 2018 ....

It will be between England & Russia... and not sure it is a once way race !

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FIFA already said that 2018 will be Europe !

So Russia is strong for 2018 ....

It will be between England & Russia... and not sure it is a once way race !

Sorry, I meant to write Russia (would) seem to be in a stronger position for 2022 if FIFA wasn't so eager to go to Europe for 2018. By most accounts people say 2018 is between England and Russia. If the race was between those two countries for 2022, Russia would probably be stronger, but maybe not strong enough to win against England.

We shall see come December.

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  • 2 months later...

Yevgeny Lovchev won 52 caps for Russia. Here is what he says in The Times today.

I always had a special passion for English football. It started with the 1966 World Cup. In the old Soviet Union, that was the first World Cup that we could watch on TV. I played against England in a friendly in Moscow in 1973, when we lost 1-0. And I once enjoyed a nice chat with Sir Alfred Ramsey at a post-match banquet in Kiev. So I have fond memories, and I have great respect for football in England, too. But for all that, I strongly believe Russia needs a World Cup much more than England or its other Western European rivals. Russia should stage the tournament in 2018.

First of all, Russia, or the whole of Eastern Europe for that matter, has never hosted a World Cup. For Fifa, it is very important to make football a truly global sport and that is why it was so adamant to stage the first World Cup in Africa this year. And bringing the World Cup to Russia would make it an integral part of the world because for many decades, since the end of the Second World War, Eastern Europe has been isolated in many ways. The World Cup would help to bring that to an end. So it would help Fifa and help Russia, too. Russia needs a World Cup to improve its infrastructure, to build modern stadiums, hotels and airports, to build new motorways. Without the World Cup it would take much longer for our country to create all these necessities.

England does not need a World Cup to improve its infrastructure. I have been to England many times, so I know first hand that it has everything in place. And staging the tournament in a country like England would do little to enhance the global growth of our game. You could argue that it would be a big risk to stage the World Cup in Russia simply because most of the infrastructure must be built from scratch. But, in my opinion, we have a very stable political situation and stable Government, we have President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who will be leading our country for many years to come and will be in charge in 2018. They are both fully committed to this World Cup project.

I do not see any negative aspects of Russia's bid. Some say that Russia has racist problems; a lot has been said about the treatment of Peter Odemwingie, the West Bromwich Albion striker. But let me make one thing clear: I've known Odemwingie since his youth days, when he played for the CSKA Moscow youth academy, and he was never treated differently from any other player. We have a lot of black players in Russia and fans abuse them, just as they abuse Russian players, when they do not perform well. Just ask Vágner Love, the Brazil striker, what it is like to play here; he is adored by CSKA fans. In short, the racial problem is one of many big myths about Russia. And that is another reason why we should host the World Cup — to clear many misconceptions about our country and bring it closer to the rest of the world. It could be a better football world after a World Cup here, too.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Russian government signals Putin will not go to Zurich for 2018 World Cup showdown

LONDON/ZURICH, Nov 30: Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, considered a likely key figure in the decisive concluding stage of the 2018 World Cup campaign, will not, after all be flying to Zurich to speak up for the Russian bid.

Reports of his absence were appearing in established Moscow media outlets just as representatives of the Russian bid team in Zurich were making non-committal statements about his travel plans.

The Moscow reports claimed that Putin's absence was down to a certainty that the bid already had the essential 12 votes assured among the FIFA executive. However, predictably, sources with rival bids claimed that this could mean quite the opposite - that Putin was not putting his personal status and charisma at the service of a bid which was not likely to win.

Russia would not, however, be the only 2018 bidder without prime ministerial support.

The prime ministers of co-host bidders Spain and Portugal will be absent. In the case of Spain's Jose Luis Zapatero this is considered partly because he does not want to risk a repeat of the personal embarrassment he suffered last year when the IOC, despite his presence in Copenhagen, voted to award the 2016 Olympics to Rio de Janeiro rather than Madrid.


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Thank you all so much for your support!

We have worked really hard for 2 years and did more than humanly possible.

Now the Opening ceremony is over and only 10 hours are left before we present to the Session.

We feel confident.

We'll make it!


This is my post back from 2007.

It's now again 10 hours before we present.

Another bid seems like another world.

This time our bid is less strong and our competition is more fierce.

Still Russians never give up.

Tomorrow we'll be with the shield or on top of it.


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Russia definitely seems stronger for 2022, but we shall see how things play out. Maybe Russia 2030?

I don't think FIFA would give 2030 bid to another country so easily, if they want a celebration for 100 years of the World Cup they could seriously think on the Uruguay/Argentina bid to take in count.

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  • 4 months later...

World Cup - Russian organising chair named

Wed, 27 Apr 17:29:00 2011

Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko was appointed chairman of the Russian organising committee for the 2018 World Cup on Wednesday.

Mutko, who is also a member of FIFA's executive board, was given the job following a meeting of Russia's 2018 World Cup supervisory board, headed by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

"The Prime Minister chose (Mutko)... sorry I can't say much more," Alexei Sorokin, who headed the Russian bid for the 2018 tournament, was quoted as saying by local media.

Putin was widely credited with helping Russia win the right to stage the soccer extravaganza when it beat England, and joint bids from Spain/Portugal and Belgium/Netherlands in December.

Mutko said that Moscow's 80,000-seat Luzhniki Olympic stadium would most likely host the World Cup final and one of the semi-finals, with St Petersburg staging the other semi.

Mutko also said the 2017 Confederation Cup, an eight-team tournament which acts as a dress rehearsal for the World Cup, would be staged by four cities, Moscow, St Petersburg, Kazan and Sochi, which is hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics.


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  • 1 month later...

Russia's football league is launching an investigation after a banana was thrown at the Brazilian defender Roberto Carlos during a league match on Wednesday, the second such racist taunt directed towards the former World Cup–winner in three months.

The 38–year–old, who joined Anzhi Makhachkala this year, left the pitch in protest before the final whistle after the banana was thrown from the stands in stoppage time of the game at Krylya Sovetov.

Krylya Sovetov will also launch their own inquiry into the incident, according to the website of the Russian newspaper Sport Express.

In March, the champions Zenit St Petersburg were fined $10,000 after one of their fans offered a banana to Roberto Carlos before a match.


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  • 1 month later...

Luzhniki faces demolition threat

Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium, the only proposed 2018 World Cup host venue currently in use, could face demolition as fears grow over the cost of renovation.

However, the bulldozers could not move on to the site before 2013, when the country’s biggest sports venue is set to host the IAAF World Athletics Championships.

And that could prompt a race against time to get a new stadium ready for the big kick-off in 2018.

Decision imminent

The team of international developers assembled to oversee the future of the stadium will give its verdict next month – and cash will be the key factor.

The budget to spend on Luzhniki is 20 million rubles, barely half the figure estimated by architects assessing how to bring the arena up to FIFA’s requirements.

In that case it may prove cheaper to demolish the existing 55-year-old stadium and start again.

“We will not spend more than 40 billion rubles to reconstruct Luzhniki,” Moscow’s construction chief Marat Khusnullin told Kommersant. “Either we will cut the costs of the project, or it will be easier to build a new complex for 20 billion.”

Changes needed

To meet the requirements for a World Cup Final host, Luzhniki has some work to do. The total capacity is currently 78,400, more than 10,000 shy of the 89,300 required.

As well as increasing spectator seats to at least 80,000, the VIP area will need to double in size and press facilities will also require expansion.

However, Brazil’s Maracana Stadium, set to host the 2014 final, faced a similar overhaul and achieved it on a budget of $800 million (about 22 billion rubles), according to Andrei Peregudov, a senior vice-president of VTB Bank.

He believes that 20 billion is a realistic figure for Luzhniki, even though his own bank has estimated a spend of $1.5 billion (41.9 billion rubles) to rebuild the Dinamo Stadium in Moscow.

That project, due to start in 2008 and finish next year, has suffered long delays with work only recently starting on the Leningradsky Prospekt site.

Increasing costs

The problems potentially facing Luzhniki reflect the fate of St. Petersburg’s Kirov Stadium, which is set to be demolished and replaced with a 67,000-seat stadium before 2018.

City authorities in the northern capital asked for state help to meet spiralling costs after the new arena’s budget was pushed up to $1.1 billion, making it one of the world’s most expensive sports facilities.


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  • 1 month later...

Russia likely to use 13 arenas for 2018 World Cup

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, who also chairs the organising committee for the 2018 World Cup, wants to minimise the number of stadiums that will host the tournament and thinks 13 could be the right number.

Russia, who beat England and joint bids from Spain/Portugal and Belgium/Netherlands last December to win the right to stage the soccer extravaganza for the first time, had originally proposed 16 stadiums in 13 different cities.

World governing body FIFA usually considers 12 venues as an optimal number for the 32-team tournament.

"Twelve is a more practical number because the more cities you have, the bigger the cost is of staging the tournament," Mutko, who is also a member of FIFA's executive board, told reporters.

"We haven't made the final decision and in theory all 16 (original) venues still have a chance to be selected. But in the end we would have no more than 13 stadiums."

Mutko also said that Moscow's 84,000-seat Luzhniki Olympic stadium would likely host the World Cup final and one of the semi-finals, with St Petersburg staging the other semi.

"Moscow alone has three different stadiums, plus another one just outside the city," he told Reuters at an international sports forum, which concluded over the weekend in Saransk.

"I think it's just too much. We shouldn't have more than two World Cup stadiums in Moscow."


The final decision about the number of venues for the 2018 World Cup should be made by FIFA in March 2013.


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  • 3 weeks later...

FIFA bans Myanmar from 2018 World Cup after crowd

REUTERS - Myanmar were banned from taking part in qualifying for the 2018 World Cup and fined 25,000 Swiss francs ($28,000) by world governing body FIFA on Friday after crowd trouble halted their Asian qualifying match against Oman in July.

Myanmar, already 2-0 down from the first leg in the preliminary round tie, were trailing 2-0 in the second leg in their capital Yangon when the violence broke out just before the end of the first half.

FIFA immediately awarded Oman a 2-0 victory which saw them through to the next stage and left Myanmar eliminated from the 2014 competition.

Japanese referee Ryuji Sato was forced to halt the game two minutes into stoppage time at the end of the first half when fans hurled rocks and glass bottles at him, the visiting coach Paul Le Guen and the Oman players.

Despite a heavy police presence, Myanmar fans turned unruly when Sato awarded a penalty to Oman with the home side already trailing 1-0.

Oman's Ismail al Ajmi converted the spot kick to put his side 2-0 ahead after 39 minutes, sparking anger among the crowd at the Thuwunna Stadium and prompting the players, referee and coaches to flee for cover in the dressing room.

In a statement, FIFA's Disciplinary Committee ruled that the Myanmar Football Federation breached the Disciplinary Code in terms of the conduct of its supporters.


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  • 1 month later...
Russia 2018 World Cup bid to be investigated reveals Fifa president Sepp Blatter

The 75-year-old Swiss also concedes that awarding two tournaments at once was a mistake, with Qatar's 2022 bid already under examination over bribery allegations

Fifa president Sepp Blatter has confirmed that the decision to award the 2018 World Cup to Russia will undergo an investigation.

Qatar were awarded the 2022 tournament at the same time as the eastern European country, amid allegations that the Asian nation had influenced the decision-making process through the use of bribery.

Questions surrounding Russia's victory have been few and far between, but the Swiss executive has confirmed that an enquiry will be conducted.

"At the moment we’re working with renowned experts like Sylvia Schenk from Transparency International and the Basel-based anti-corruption expert Professor Marc Pieth," Blatter told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

"They’re giving their input to the Good Governance Committee, which will then submit its suggestions to the Executive Committee and Congress, where the matter will in turn be dealt with."

One of the reasons for the supposed corruption within the game's governing body was the setup of the Executive Committee which, Blatter explains, will be reformed.

"It was decided that in future, Congress - the delegates from the 208 member associations - should vote for the host countries of World Cups, not the Executive Committee, and also that the Ethics Committee should be expanded," the 75-year-old added.

"There should also be a bureau of investigation and a tribunal whose members are elected by the members of Congress and not by the Executive Committee. The establishment of a Good Governance Committee was also agreed upon.

"All this was accepted with 99 per cent of the votes. It was recently brought into question whether I was even allowed to bring that to vote, and I had to say 'Sorry, but Congress is the supreme body’," he stated.

The awarding of two World Cups simultaneously was deemed by many as a mistake that could have prompted collusion, and Blatter admits that he has regrets over the decision.

"Look at it this way: Anyone who works a lot makes mistakes from time to time," he said.

"One thing I would never do again is allow the Executive Committee to award two World Cups at once.

"It led to a conflict of interests because everyone was able to vote, even if their own country was involved in the bidding. That was a mistake."


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What they should select concurrently are: the Men's and Women's World Cup locations for the succeeding round. So if the Men's 2018 and 2022 results are to stand; then when they select the 2026 Men's site, the Women's 2027 site should also be picked then.

Edited by baron-pierreIV
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