2018 World Cup bid: Winner Russia says it wasn’t fixed

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The organising committee of the Russian 2018 World Cup has denied accusations that Russia had won the right to host the global football event as a result of fix-ups.

“The Russian 2018 organising committee wants to stress once again that the Russian Bid Committee has campaigned for the right to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup in full compliance with the FIFA Code of Ethics and regulations that determine the rules of application,” it said in a statement.

The outgoing FIFA President Sepp Blatter had said that Russia had gained the right to host the championship as a result of a secret agreement between FIFA senior officials, Xinhua reported.

The Russian side denied knowledge of any prior agreements.

“Russia’s bid was open, transparent and fully consistent with best international practices of management, and it had full support of the Russian government,” the committee said. “The concept of the World Cup, presented in Russia’s bid, was extremely competitive, and we are convinced that this is what has allowed our country to win the right to host this grand event.”

Russia’s Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko also denied Blatter’s statement, saying, “There has been no fix-ups. We have won the right to the World Cup deservedly.”

Earlier, on Wednesday, Blatter had accused Union of European Football Associations president Michel Platini of being the direct cause of the scandal that has shaken the foundations of the highest organisation of world football.

“At the beginning it was only a personal attack. It was Platini against me,” Efe quoted Blatter as saying in an interview with Russian news agency TASS from Zurich.

Blatter stressed that Platini “wanted to be FIFA president” but “he had not the courage to go as the president”.

“UEFA is affected by anti-FIFA virus for years before my presidency. They have an anti-FIFA virus,” the Swiss declared.

He recalled that before Platini was elected to head the UEFA they were “best friends”, but then he “suddenly” did not invite him to the opening of the European Championship in 2008.

“And since then I never went to UEFA competitions because it’s non-respect, not to me as a person, but to the office and the people I represent,” he said.

At the same time he came out in support of the Frenchman maintaining that the two million Swiss francs ($2.2 million) Platini received from FIFA, which caused his temporary suspension, was payment for work and does not represent a criminal act.

The Swiss said that he proposed working with him after the 1998 World Cup held in France, but Platini, who is also temporarily suspended for 90 days, asked for a million francs a year, an exorbitant figure for FIFA.

“We have made some contract where he got some money, but not one million. He was working until he was elected in 2002 to FIFA Executive Committee and UEFA Executive Committee.

“He stopped his working contract because he was then an official of FIFA,” he said.

In 2010, Platini asked FIFA to pay its debt, to which Blatter asked for the head of UEFA’s own estimate of the amount.

“He said we owe him two million Swiss francs. And then I analyzed that and I said okay, it’s a contract we have made.

“And it’s a principle I have in my life that if you owe money to somebody, then you pay it,” he said.

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