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ZURICH, December 4. /TASS/. There are currently no reasons to strip Russia of the right to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, who runs for presidency of the world’s ruling football body, told TASS on Friday.
"For the past four years people were talking about issues related to the bids of 2018 and 2022 and so far there has been nothing and I think it’s time to look forward and just go ahead," said Sheikh Salman, president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). "It’s better that we focus on 2018 and 2022 and make sure they will be successful tournaments."
Sheikh Salman said he did "not see any reason" to hold the 2018 tournament in some other country, adding that he had "no doubts" the event would take place in Russia.
"Up to today everything is okay and is moving on the right track," he said.
Russia has all chances to hold the best FIFA World Cup in history, Sheikh Salman said.
"Everybody is looking forward for the biggest country in the world to host such an event," said Sheikh Salman, president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
"I think that the LOC [Local Organizing Committee] has done a tremendous good job in the past three years," he said praising the efforts of Sports Minister and LOC president Vitaly Mutko and its director general Alexei Sorokin. "The work is going to plan which I think is very important."
"The World Cup is always a challenge for any country that hosts it to be better than the one before and I am sure that the team that you have is going to do a great job and I am sure it will be a huge success," he added. "And it’s a legacy that you going to leave for the future generations."
Sheikh Salman also praised his relationship with Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, a member of the FIFA Executive Committee.
"I think we get along very well," he said." He’s been a great asset to FIFA and UEFA and bringing the World Cup to Russia is a credit to him and his team."
Matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup will be held between June 14 and July 15 at 12 stadiums in 11 Russian cities, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, Sochi, Samara, Nizhny Novgorod, Kaliningrad, Rostov-on-Don, Yekaterinburg, Volgograd and Saransk.