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Russian tycoon says allegations of relocating 2018 World Cup from Russia groundless

December 29, 2015, 0:42 UTC+3

"If such thing happens it can be viewed as a direct interference into the work of an independent public international organization," the president of the International Fencing Federation said

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© Sergei Fadeichev/TASS

MOSCOW, December 28. /TASS/. Russia’s billionaire businessman Alisher Usmanov says he sees no grounds whatsoever of relocating the 2018 FIFA World Cup from Russia to any other venue, the tycoon, who is also the president of the International Fencing Federation (FIE) was quoted as saying on air of the Russian television.

"There are no grounds of depriving Russia of the right to host the [2018] World Championship," Usmanov, who is also the president of the International Fencing Federation (FIE), said in an interview with Rossiya-24 television channel.

"I simple do not believe in such possibility," he said. "If such thing happens it can be viewed as a direct interference into the work of an independent public international organization."

Corruption scandals in the FIFA

A chain of corruption scandals rocked FIFA throughout this year. Everything flared up within an unprecedented scandal on the morning of May 27, one day before the 65th FIFA Congress in Zurich, where seven of the organization’s high-ranking officials were arrested in Switzerland on bribery, money laundering and corruption charges.

Some of the allegations point to Russia and Qatar’s moves of corrupting FIFA into allegedly getting the right of hosting the world championships.

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko denied all allegations in regard to Russia’s forged bid and said commenting earlier in the week on the situation regarding FIFA President Sepp Blatter that he deserved respectful farewell ceremony instead of an eight-year ban from all football activities.

Last week on Monday, the previously suspended FIFA and UEFA presidents, Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini respectively, were both banned for eight years by FIFA's Ethics Committee from all international football activities over allegedly illegal financial transfer from FIFA to Platini.

The Ethics Committee also subjected both of the football executives to financial fines, obliging Blatter to pay 50,000 Swiss francs (over $50,300) and Platini - 80,000 Swiss francs (over $80,500).

"In my opinion, this is not the way a man, who did so much for football in 40 years, should leave," Mutko, who is also the president of the Russian Football Union (RFU) and a member of the FIFA Executive Committee, said. "Let us compare the present situation in football with the one during last century, in 1970s. I am absolutely positive that Blatter deserved the opposite type of the farewell ceremony."

Sepp Blatter

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. FIFA announced in July that the election of the new president would be held next year on February 26.

According to a statement from FIFA’s Ethics Committee on December 21: "The proceedings against Mr Blatter primarily related to a payment of CHF 2,000,000 transferred in February 2011 from FIFA to Mr Platini. Mr Blatter, in his position as President of FIFA, authorised the payment to Mr Platini which had no legal basis in the written agreement signed between both officials on 25 August 1999."

"Neither in his written statement nor in his personal hearing was Mr Blatter able to demonstrate another legal basis for this payment," the statement said. "His assertion of an oral agreement was determined as not convincing and was rejected by the chamber."

In his letter addressed to members of FIFA on December 14, Blatter wrote commenting on the payment at the issue: "I can assure you that: it was legal because it was based on a verbal agreement."

"And agreements must be adhered to," Blatter announced last week. "This payment was put through the full administrative process, the correctness of which was confirmed by all competent FIFA bodies - including the Congress.".

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