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SBD Global/August 19, 2014/International Football

Russia 2018 World Cup CEO Alexey Sorokin Says Focus Is On Delivery, Not Politics

Russia 2018 World Cup CEO Alexey Sorokin "has broken his silence over calls in some quarters for the country to be stripped of host status," according to Andrew Warshaw of INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL. Until now, Sorokin has kept his counsel "amid global criticism of Russia's support for separatists in eastern Ukraine and allegations of Russian involvement in the shooting down of the Malaysia Airlines plane." Sorokin said, "These appeals to FIFA are private opinions by politicians and others. Everyone is entitled to their opinion about where this World Cup should take place. Maybe (they think it should be) back in their homeland, maybe somewhere else. ... We feel we should be maintaining a principle that was declared many years ago -- which is that football should be beyond politics" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 8/18). INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL's Dimitry Stensrud wrote a survey by the Russian Foundation of Public Opinion found that "the overwhelming majority of Russians believe that holding the 2018 World Cup in Russia will promote interest in sport and a healthy lifestyle." Conducted in early August, "the survey polled 1,500 people between the ages of 18-43 from 100 different areas." According to the survey, 67% men and 51% of women "have a positive attitude" toward the hosting of the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Less than 10% of respondents "were negative" toward hosting the World Cup (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 8/18).

NEW VENUE: The new 45,000-seat Kazan Arena was officially opened on Sunday and will host both the 2018 FIFA World Cup and FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 matches. Ahead of the Russian Premier League match between Rubin Kazan and Lokomotiv Moscow, special events were attended by Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko and the Head of the Republic of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov (FIFA).
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