England 2018 team complain over Russia comments

England’s 2018 World Cup campaign chiefs confirmed Tuesday they have made a formal complaint following disparaging comments about London by the head of Russia’s rival bid.

By (AFP)

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Published: Wed 27 Oct 2010, 1:26 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 4:39 AM

In a recent interview with Russian daily Sports Express, Russia 2018 bid chief Andrei Sorokin referred to London’s high crime rate and youth alcohol problems, breaching FIFA rules on talking about rival bidders.

Sorokin later apologised but insisted his remarks were true — prompting English officials to lodge a complaint against Sorokin to FIFA last week.

“We can confirm a complaint has been made to FIFA,” a spokesman for England 2018 confirmed.

English officials are believed to be seeking a formal apology from Sorokin rather than have the case heard by FIFA’s executive committee ahead of the December 2 vote to decide the venues for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

FIFA’s ethics committee is already probing allegations of corruption concerning the World Cup bidding race after a newspaper filmed two officials offering to trade their votes for cash.

In remarks earlier this month Sorokin had given a withering view of London and its social problems.

“We do not enter into squabbles, although we have much to say. It’s no secret, for example, that in London they have the highest crime rate compared with other European cities, and the highest level of alcohol consumption among young people,” Sorokin said.

Sorokin also insisted Russia had no problem with racism after a banner unfurled by Lokomotiv Moscow fans which referred to the sale of Nigerian international Peter Odemwingie to English club West Bromwich Albion.

The banner read “Thanks West Brom” and was accompanied by an image of a banana. However Sorokin instead accused English supporters of intolerance, citing Manchester United fans who had burned a Stars and Stripes flag at Old Trafford to protest the club’s American owners.

“We could have a conversation about the lack of tolerance and the inciting of ethnic hatred by English fans. But we do not behave like someone who is always saying bad things about their neighbours,” Sorokin was quoted as saying.

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