MOSCOW, May 27. /TASS/. Arrests of six senior officials from the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA) are not connected with Russia’s bidding campaign for the 2018 World Cup, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko told TASS on Wednesday.
The Swiss Federal Office of Justice reported earlier in the day that six FIFA officials were arrested on charges of corruption and bribery at the request of the US authorities and are now facing extradition to the United States.
"This is not connected with bidding campaigns," Mutko said in an interview with TASS adding that all the information he knows at the moment comes from media.
US authorities suspect the officials of taking bribes "totaling more than $100 million" as well as vote rigging in the selection of venues for World Cup tournaments, the Swiss justice office reported.
Russia is currently in full swing preparations 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.
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.