Blatter opposes Russia World Cup boycott

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Blatter opposes Russia World Cup boycott

Some politicians in Britain, Germany and the United States called on Fifa to withdraw the World Cup from Russia. But Blatter said he was happy with Russia’s work on the 2018 World Cup. Twelve stadiums in 11 cities are to be used.

By (AFP)

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Published: Wed 29 Oct 2014, 2:11 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 10:45 PM

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and FIFA President Sepp Blatter meet in Moscow, Russia. AP file photo

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Fifa President Sepp Blatter meet in Moscow, Russia. AP file photo

Moscow: World football boss Sepp Blatter on Tuesday opposed any boycott of the 2018 World Cup in Russia and backed the huge preparations undertaken by President Vladimir Putin’s government for the mega event.

“A boycott will never give any positive effect,” Blatter told the R-Sport news agency in comments translated into Russian. “We trust the country, its government.”

“Fifa unconditionally supports the staging of the World Cup by Russia,” Blatter added. Diplomatic sources said last month that European nations were discussing a possible boycott of the World Cup because of the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Some politicians in Britain, Germany and the United States have called on Fifa to withdraw the World Cup from Russia.

“When we receive letters from North America (asking for the World Cup to withdrawn), we tell them that this is football,” Blatter said.

“Russia is the world’s biggest country. You know, Russia is in the eye of the international media. Football can not only unite Russia but show the whole world that it is stronger than any protest movement.”

He compared the situation with Russia’s hosting of the Winter Olympics in the Black Sea resort of Sochi this year, when Western leaders stayed away. “There was the same situation ahead of Sochi, but neither during nor after the Games, has there been a single word against these Games.”

Blatter said he was happy with Russia’s work on the 2018 World Cup. Twelve stadiums in 11 cities are to be used.

“I can say that in comparison with Brazil, Russia is considerably ahead of schedule with four years remaining before the event’s start,” Blatter said.

The Fifa president came to Moscow to participate in a ceremony Tuesday to present the 2018 World Cup logo. The ceremony, starting at 2030 GMT, will see the logo projected onto the facade of Moscow’s legendary Bolshoi Theatre.



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