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FIFA on 2018 Russia World Cup: Football must build bridges, not ‘solve political problems’

April 20, 2017, 17:13 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Russia is currently in full-swing preparations for the global football tournaments

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© Peter Kovalev/TASS

MOSCOW, April 20. /TASS/. The world’s governing football body FIFA confirmed on Thursday it would work further with Russian authorities to organize the 2017 Confederations Cup and the 2018 World Cup, saying that football was not aimed "at solving political problems."

"Football cannot solve political problems and FIFA is not in a position to interfere in sovereign issues, but football can contribute to building bridges, fostering cultural exchange and bringing people together," FIFA’s press service told TASS. "While promoting dialogue, understanding and peace among peoples, we believe that FIFA tournaments warrant the world’s active support."

US Democrat Senator Richard Blumenthal sent a letter to FIFA earlier in the week urging the global football body to strip Russia of the right to host the most anticipated quadrennial football event, the FIFA 2018 World Cup. In his letter addressed to FIFA President Gianni Infantino, Senator Blumenthal said in particular that other countries that bid to host the event and the US Soccer Federation could help FIFA find an alternative venue for the event.

"The decision on Russia hosting the 2018 FIFA World Cup was taken back in 2010 by the erstwhile FIFA Executive Committee. Since then, the Russian government, the 11 Host Cities, the Local Organizing Committee and FIFA have been working together to ensure that all fans receive a warm welcome and enjoy a friendly atmosphere when attending the biggest single sporting event in the world’s biggest country," the statement from FIFA addressed to TASS said.

"FIFA always aims to bring the game to new and different territories around the world and to encourage love and respect for the game in local fan cultures wherever we hold tournaments," the statement added.

Russia is currently in full-swing preparations for the global football tournaments after the country clinched the bid, following the final vote held in Guatemala on December 4, 2010 at the FIFA Congress. The victory came following a tight race against the bids from England, Portugal and Spain, in addition to a joint bid on behalf of Belgium and the Netherlands.

The country 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 above-mentioned cities across Russia. Two of the stadiums are located in the Russian capital of Moscow.

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