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Tags: Putin | World | Cup | bid

Putin to Lead Russia World Cup Bid

Friday, 26 March 2010 10:10 AM EDT

MOSCOW — Media speculation in Russia suggested Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was preparing to adopt a leading role in the country's bid to host the 2018 World Cup.

Press reports speculated that Putin's personal involvement in the presentation of the bid to world governing body FIFA would seriously boost Russia's chances of winning the race to organise the tournament.

"Putin will support Russia's bid" was the headline on popular news website www.gazeta.ru, while the website of the federal radio station 'Voice of Russia' proclaimed: "2018 World Cup: Putin is Russia's main hope."

As president, Putin headed the Russian delegation at an International Olympic Committee meeting in Guatemala that resulted in the southern resort city of Sochi winning the right to put on the 2014 Winter Olympics.

"I think that our country has a good chance of being awarded the organisation of this competition," said Putin.

"But we must also keep in mind that we have strong opponents who also want to host the event."

Putin said the country's government would shortly provide FIFA with all the necessary guarantees of state support for the project.

Russia will send their bid document to FIFA on May 14, while the candidacy to host the 2018 World Cup will be officially presented to FIFA in Zurich, Switzerland, in December.

Putin presided over a government meeting on Thursday that looked into how Russia can meet FIFA's demands for prospective World Cup host countries.

FIFA requires that host countries provide specific taxation and customs facilities as well as easing entry requirements to the country for players, officials and supporters.

Putin also said that all the necessary World Cup infrastructure, including stadiums, airports, motorways and hotels, would be constructed in time.

He added that construction work would take place even if Russia's bid to host the 2018 tournament failed.

Earlier this year Putin said hosting the 2018 World Cup would give a serious boost to the development of football in Russia and expressed his hope that the country's national side would perform better at a home event than they did in the unsuccessful 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign.

"Currently we don't have the infrastructure that is needed to host an event of such a high level," Putin said.

"But it would be much easier for us to concentrate all our resourses on solving those problems if we received the right to host the World Cup.

"Hopefully in this case we could achieve much better results than recently, when we failed to reach the World Cup finals in South Africa."

FIFA's executive committee will announce the hosts of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups at the end of 2010.

England, Australia, the United States, Japan and joint bids from Spain and Portugal and Belgium and the Netherlands are the other candidates for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, while South Korea and Qatar have bid only for the 2022 edition.

The 2010 World Cup will take place in South Africa, while Latin American countries were ruled out of the running for both 2018 and 2022 as Brazil will host the 2014 event.

The region that provides the host in 2018 will be excluded from consideration for 2022.

Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved.

© Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Friday, 26 March 2010 10:10 AM
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