Russia presses on with 2018 World Cup preparations


  • Football
  • Wednesday, 03 Jun 2015

UEFA President Michel Platini attends the 65th FIFA Congress in Zurich, Switzerland, May 29, 2015. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia is pressing ahead with preparations to host the 2018 World Cup finals following Sepp Blatter's resignation as FIFA president and does not expect any boycotts of the tournament, Russian officials said on Wednesday.

The Kremlin said it was surprised by Blatter's decision, announced on Tuesday, but signalled it was business as usual between Moscow and football's world governing body.

"We have no information on what the reason was for this resignation," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. "Cooperation with FIFA is going on and, most importantly, Russia continues preparations for the 2018 World Cup."

Blatter announced he was quitting four days after he was re-elected FIFA president despite a criminal investigation being launched last week into FIFA votes to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively.

After Blatter's re-election, English Football Association chairman Greg Dyke said his organisation would support any boycott led by UEFA, the sport's European federation.

But Alexander Zhukov, head of Russia's Olympic Committee, told RIA news agency: "I think there will be no kind of boycotts."

"We have heard statements, including from politicians ... but I think the sporting community will never do it and won't allow the world of sport to be split," he said.

(Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska and Katya Golubkova, Writing by Timothy Heritage, Editing by Elizabeth Piper)

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