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British PM against stripping Russia of right to host 2018 World Cup

July 28, 2014, 8:31 UTC+3 LONDON

British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg earlier said that it was “unthinkable” for the global football contest to take place in Russia

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LONDON, July 28 /ITAR-TASS/. British Prime Minister David Cameron spoke against stripping Russia of the right to host the 2018 World Cup as it was earlier proposed by one of his deputies as a form of penalty regarding Moscow’s stance on the developments in neighboring Ukraine, the premier’s office stated.

British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg earlier said in an interview with the Sunday Times that it was “unthinkable” for the global football contest to take place in Russia and stripping the country of the event would be a "very potent political and symbolic sanction."

"The prime minister does not believe we should reach immediately for boycotts, but it is also not surprising, given Russian behavior, that people are starting to raise the issue," Cameron’s office said.

The office also said the fact that the issue of depriving Russia of the right to host the World Cup "shows the importance of Russia changing course, before its international standing is damaged even further.”

The Guardian daily reported that British shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander earlier urged the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) “to draw up contingency plans for the event to be held elsewhere.”

Football’s governing body spoke last Friday against the possibility of relocating the 2018 World Cup insisting that the tournament in Russia could be “a force for good.”

''History has shown so far that boycotting sport events or a policy of isolation or confrontation are not the most effective ways to solve problems,'' FIFA said in its statement.

Russia won the bid to host the 2018 World Cup over three 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.

Shortly before Brazil’s fabulous city of Rio de Janeiro dropped the curtains on the 2014 World Cup with the final Germany-Argentina clash on July 13, the baton of the global football tournament’s hosting nations was passed on to Russia.

The symbolic hand-over ceremony of the right to host the World Cup tournament was held at the iconic over 74,700-seat capacity Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro and was attended by FIFA President Sepp Blatter, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Blatter said earlier that he intended to pay a visit to Russia in September to monitor the preparation work for the championship in 2018.

Following an official ceremony held in September 2012 and attended by Blatter, Russia eventually selected 11 out of the earlier proposed 13 cities, excluding Krasnodar and Yaroslavl. The final list of the 2018 World Cup host cities includes Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.

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