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FIFA World Cups in Russia, Qatar to be held as planned despite FIFA arrests — spokesman

May 27, 2015, 14:11 UTC+3 ZURICH

Seven FIFA officials were arrested on charges of corruption and bribery at the request of the US authorities

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© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

ZURICH, May 27. /TASS/. The 2018 FIFA World Cup will be held in Russia and the next one in 2022 will take place in Qatar as it was planned and arrests of six senior officials from the world’s governing body in Switzerland earlier in the day will not affect the scheduled events, a spokesman for the world’s football governing body said on Wednesday.

The Swiss Federal Office of Justice reported earlier in the day that seven 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.

Asked whether the high-profile arrests may alter the venues for the next two global football tournaments FIFA’s Director of Communications and Public Affairs Walter De Gregorio said: "I can say what the [FIFA] president said earlier - the World Cup in 2018 and 2022 will be played in Russia and in Qatar [respectively."

"Russia and Qatar will be played and I don’t want to go into speculation what will be tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, and so on," FIFA spokesman added.

Commenting earlier in the day on the high-profile arrests in FIFA, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko told TASS they were not connected with Russia’s bidding campaign for the 2018 World Cup.

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.

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.

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.

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