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MOSCOW, June 4. /TASS/. The FIFA executive committee has made a decision that the 2018 World Cup should be held in Russia as planned, former FIFA vice president Vyacheslav Koloskov said on Thursday.
"There is no risk of relocation," Koloskov told TASS. "The newly elected FIFA executive committee has made a decision at its last meeting that there will be no changes regarding the 2018 World Cup venue. This was announced by a German representative, Wolfgang Niersbach, who heads the German Football Association."
German Justice Minister Heiko Maas said earlier that FIFA would have to relocate the 2018 and 2022 World Cups from Russia and Qatar if it is proved that its selection had been bought.
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.
The matches of the 2018 World Cup will be held between June 14 and July 15 at 12 stadiums located in 11 cities across Russia, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.
Former US ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, told TASS Thursday that the 2018 World Cup is unlikely to be taken away from Russia due to the FIFA corruption scandal and the FBI probe into bribery at the world's football governing body.
"I doubt it," McFaul said replying to a question whether Russia could be stripped of the 2018 World Cup hosting tight.
"Russia should welcome the fact that this scandal is happening now. and not on the eve of the games in Russia," McFaul said. "By the time the Cup come to Russia, FIFA's reputation will be restored and that will produce a much better atmosphere for the Cup in 2018. Had Blatter stayed, the stench of corruption would be hanging over these games. As we say in English, this outcome is a 'blessing in disguise' for Russia."
"The FBI is always involved in fighting corruption all the time. As we know from our history, the FBI is also fiercely independent, and does not perform political acts for politicians," said McFaul who had worked as the US ambassador in Moscow in 2012-2014.
An unprecedented corruption scandal flared up in FIFA on May 27 as seven of the organization’s high-ranking officials were arrested in Switzerland on bribery, money laundering and corruption charges. The scandal involves two separate criminal proceedings.
Firstly, the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York is conducting a criminal investigation into the awarding of media, marketing and sponsorship rights for soccer tournaments in the United States and Latin America. Secondly, the Swiss Office of the Attorney General is conducting a criminal investigation into the selection of Russia as the host country for the 2018 World Cup and Qatar as the host country for 2022.
The arrests of the seven FIFA top officials were made by the Swiss police at the request from the US authorities and they are now facing extradition to the United States.
The US Department of Justice said in its statement last week that a total of 14 people (nine FIFA officials and five corporate executives) were indicted for racketeering conspiracy and corruption.