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FIFA considers political interference into sports unacceptable — Russian sports minister

March 20, 2015, 15:43 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Russian sports minister's statement comes in the wake of calls made by a number of politicians to boycott 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia
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Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko

© ITAR-TASS/Alexei Druzhinin

MOSCOW, March 20. /TASS/. The International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA) believes that political interference into affairs of sports organizations is unacceptable, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko told TASS on Friday.

FIFA Executive Committee is holding a session in Zurich on March 19-20 and Mutko said "FIFA will make a statement on the inadmissibility of political interference into sports organizations."

Mutko’s statement comes in the wake of calls made by a number of politicians to boycott 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

"Sports must remain beyond politics and must be autonomous. Political interference into affairs of sports organizations should be unacceptable and it goes not only to the World Cup. Political interference into sports totally contradicts FIFA charter," the Russian sports minister said in an interview with TASS.

Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko on Monday called on his country's allies to consider boycotting the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia over the crisis in Ukraine’s southeast.

FIFA said in response in its statement that "History has often proved that a boycott of political competitions or politics of isolation are not an effective way to resolve such problems."

Calls to strip Russia of the right to host the World Cup in 2018 as a form of penalty regarding Moscow’s stance on the developments in neighboring Ukraine were voiced repeatedly last year on behalf Western politicians as well.

Russia is currently gearing up for the Preliminary Draw, which is the first major kick-off event ahead of the global tournament itself.

The draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Preliminary Competition will be held on July 25 in Russia’s second largest city of St. Petersburg with a total of 208 nations having signed up for the participation in the event.

It will be for the first time in the history of World Cups, when all national teams registered for the Preliminary Draw. Russia as the hosting nation automatically qualified for the championship and therefore is not taking part in the preliminary competition.

The first major kick-start event of the 2018 World Cup will be held at the historic Konstantinovsky Palace, a stronghold of Russia’s rich culture located on the Gulf of Finland’s stunning shoreline. It used to serve in the 18th century as one of the residences of Russia’s imperial family.

Russia won the bid to host the 2018 World Cup over four years ago in a tight race against the joint bid from England, Portugal and Spain and the joint bid on behalf of Belgium and the Netherlands.

Russia selected 11 host cities to be the venues for the matches of the 2018 World Cup and they are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.

The matches of the 2018 World Cup will be held between June 14 and July 15 at 12 stadiums located in the 11 mentioned above cities across Russia. Two of the stadiums are located in the Russian capital.

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