FIFA president Sepp Blatter claims that nothing can stop Russia hosting the best ever World Cup in 2018, the same tournament England had failed in their bid to host – getting just two votes.
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On a visit to Sochi, the same city which hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics, Blatter (quoted in The Guardian) said, “I am a happy and proud president. I am proud that Russia is getting ready to host the World Cup.
“A lot of this is happening thanks to President Vladimir Putin, but also due to the sports minister [Vitaly] Mutko and [Alexei)]Sorokin (the chief executive of the Local Organising Committee). They are a true team and have a wonderful working relationship.”
The 2018 tournament will be Blatter’s 10th after over 40 years working on football’s world governing body and he expects the finals to be “wonderful”, despite concerns about the country’s credentials to host it.
“Some people are wanting the World Cup to be taken away from Russia but we will give one answer to this – we are involved in football and we will not allow politics to get in the way,” he said.
Blatter held a working visit with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and said, “Everything is going to plan and nothing will get in the way of Russia hosting the best ever World Cup. The economic situation is not the best but I know it will get better.
“The main thing is that the people of Russia are organising this tournament. The people want this championship to go ahead and I personally feel this.”
Winter Olympic host city Sochi is set to fulfil the same role in the World Cup in three years time and Putin is determined for Russia not to let FIFA down when it hosts the tournament for the first time, “We hosted the [Winter] Olympics last year and now Russia has before it a large, if not to say huge task of preparing for the 2018 world championship in football. These events are no less of a large scale than the Winter Olympic Games.”