Russia sports minister on 2018 World Cup: We have ‘nothing to hide’
Following the indictment of nine FIFA members and five corporate executives tied to soccer’s governing body on corruption charges Wednesday, Russia’s top sports official says the country has “nothing to hide” in regard to how it was awarded the 2018 World Cup.
U.S. and Swiss authorities are investigating allegations of corruption within FIFA, which includes charges of bribery that stem, in part, from the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Russia was awarded the 2018 tournament and Qatar was picked to host the 2022 event.
In a phone interview with the Associated Press, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko defended his country’s role regarding its selection for the next World Cup.
“We’re prepared to show everything,” Mutko said, promising full cooperation with the Swiss investigation regarding the bidding process that led to Russia’s selection.
Mutko said he and 2018 organizing committee head Alexei Sorokin have not been contacted by investigators yet.
The U.S. investigation centers on allegations that FIFA officials accepted bribes totaling $150 million over a 24-year period. The indictment includes charges of racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering. On Wednesday, Swiss authorities arrested seven FIFA officials, who were to be extradited to the U.S.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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