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 England to withdraw Russia 2018 complaint after apology

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Registration date : 2010-10-09

PostSubject: England to withdraw Russia 2018 complaint after apology    Fri Oct 29, 2010 3:52 am

England 2018 bid
England last hosted the World Cup in 1966

England's 2018 World Cup bid team is to withdraw a complaint to Fifa about Russia's campaign following an apology from their rival bidder.

The Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko has apologised for comments made by bid chief Alexei Sorokin.

England's official complaint was that Russia had broken bidding rules when he made disparaging comments about London.

"Mr Mutko approached the bid team with a genuine apology in an honourable manner," said an England spokesman.

"We, of course, accepted this apology and appreciate the gesture. We now wish to move on from this matter."

Fifa's committee met on Thursday to receive reports on the bids.

The English bid team had complained on Tuesday that Sorokin highlighted London's "high crime rate" and youth alcohol problems in an interview with Russian media that appeared to contravene Fifa's rules about talking about rival bidders.

Mr Mutko approached the England 2018 bid team with a genuine apology in an honourable manner

England 2018 spokesperson

Tensions between the two bids then intensified after Viacheslav Koloskov, honorary president of the Russian Football Union, referred to England's 2018 bid as "absolutely primitive" and "comical".

But Sorokin admits he is happy to see a line drawn under the issue.

"I'm glad this whole thing is finally over to our mutual satisfaction and we can now proceed with our normal work," he said.

Aside from England and Russia's bids, Spain and Portugal have a joint bid on the table for 2018, as do Netherlands and Belgium.

Meanwhile, the 2022 World Cup hosts will be chosen from Australia, the United States, Qatar, Japan and South Korea.

The winning bids are set to be announced following a vote by the Fifa executive committee in Zurich on 2 December.

After England lodged their complaint with Fifa, Koloskov - who is not an official member of their bid team - had said it was a pointless gesture, before the apology from Mutko and subsequent withdrawal.

"There is no reason for Russia to fear sanctions," said Koloskov. "There won't even be an investigation.

"It's a comical situation. The English are afraid of how badly their bid is going. Instead of talking about their own advantages and merits, they try to disorient their rivals."

This is going to be one of the most important meetings in Fifa's recent history. It must bring transparency to the election...

The Fifa ethics panel is currently investigating two voters, four former executive members and two bidders for alleged corruption in the 2018 and 2022 contests.

Its committee will be missing two of its 24 members in Zurich, with Nigerian Amos Adamu and Tahiti's Reynald Temarii both under investigation for allegedly offering to sell their votes.

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