Advertisement

Russia, Qatar officials express confidence in World Cup bids

Russia, Qatar officials express confidence in World Cup bids
Qatar Football Assn. President Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, left, FIFA President Sepp Blatter, center, and Russia Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov pose with the World Cup trophy after Russia and Qatar were named the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosts, respectively, in December 2010. (Philippe Desmazes / AFP/Getty Images)

Russian officials are confident FIFA President Sepp Blatter's resignation will not affect the country's plans to host the 2018 World Cup.

Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, told Russia's Tass news agency Wednesday “we are assuming that Mr. Blatter will fulfill his obligations until the next congress is held, so the work is continuing and our cooperation with FIFA is continuing."

"The main thing is that Russia is continuing its preparations for the 2018 World Cup. All the plans are being implemented and the work is being carried out."

The Swiss attorney general's office is looking into allegations of impropriety related to the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. There have been calls for a revote if the investigation reveals improper payments were made in securing hosting rights. Last week, FIFA said it would not be holding a revote.

Advertisement

Greg Dyke, chairman of the English Football Assn., said FIFA should hold a revote if allegations of bribery are true.

"If I was the Qatari organizers I wouldn't sleep very well tonight. There has been less evidence about corruption involving Russia," Dyke said Tuesday. "Qatar was never understandable – to have a World Cup in the middle of summer in Qatar when even FIFA's health and safety people advised not to do it.

"I think if the evidence comes out which shows the bidding processes were above board that's fine," he continued. "If it shows they were corrupt, then obviously the bids should be re-done -- it's as simple as that."

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Qatar Football Assn. president, said he welcomes the Swiss investigation into its 2022 World Cup bid. However, he took exception to Dyke's comments.

"Mr. Dyke's instinct to immediately focus on stripping Qatar of the World Cup speaks volumes on his views concerning what will be the first FIFA World Cup to take place in the Middle East," Sheikh Hamad said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Advertisement
Advertisement