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MOSCOW, June 10. /TASS/. Kremlin chief of staff Sergey Ivanov said on Wednesday the United States' attempts to influence FIFA corruption case "smack of imperialism."
"We are concerned about the US attempts to extend its jurisdiction to the whole world. Actually, it smacks of imperialism. The Swiss prosecutor’s office should look into the matter," Ivanov told the Russian Press Congress.
Ivanov added that he is sure that the 2018 World Cup will be held in Russia.
"The World Cup will take place in Russia," Ivanov told the World Congress of Russian Press. "There is nothing to find fault with," he said.
An unprecedented corruption scandal flared up in FIFA on morning of 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 on May 27 that a total of 14 people (nine FIFA officials and five corporate executives) were indicted for racketeering conspiracy and corruption.
On top of all, shortly after FIFA President Sepp Blatter announced his plans to resign last Tuesday, some media reports informed that the FIFA chief was being investigated by the FBI and US prosecutors as part of the corruption case in the organization.
Blatter, 79, was reelected for his fifth consecutive four-year presidential term on May 29, when his only rival Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan pulled out after the first round of vote. However, addressing a news conference in Zurich on June 2, Blatter said he decided to lay down his mandate at FIFA extraordinary elective Congress.
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.