KOVROV /Vladimir Region/, January 19. /TASS/. Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said he thinks the FIFA World Cup will lose its identity if matches of the global tournament are held in different countries within a single continent as one of FIFA’s presidential candidates proposed earlier.
Gianni Infantino, one of the five candidates running for the post of the FIFA presidency, announced in his election campaign manifesto, which was published earlier in the day, that more than two countries should have the privilege of hosting the World Cup at one time.
"FIFA should investigate the possibility of organizing the World Cup not only in one or two countries but in a whole region, so enabling several countries to enjoy the honor and benefits of hosting the World Cup," Infantino said in his election campaign manifesto.
Commenting on Infantino’s announcement, Mutko said in an interview with TASS that "this is a campaign idea."
"I do not think this idea is good," Mutko, who is also the president of the Russian Football Union and a member of the FIFA Executive Committee, said. "The World Cup is a grand and unique event. Everyone, however, has his own opinion. But I believe that the identity would be lost as well as the holiday of a particular country and culture."
The officially registered candidates running for the post of the FIFA president in February 26 elections are: UEFA Secretary General Gianni Infantino, FIFA Vice President and Jordanian Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, South Africa’s ex-Minister Of Housing Construction Tokyo Sexwale, former-FIFA Secretary General Jerome Champagne and President of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa.
FIFA suspended President Sepp Blatter, 79, was reelected for his fifth consecutive four-year presidential term on May 29 last year, 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, 2016.