Putin Rules Out Cutting Venues For 2018 World Cup Despite FIFA Recommendation
Russian President Vladimir Putin "has ruled out cutting any of the 11 host cities for the 2018 World Cup despite repeated recommendations" from FIFA President Sepp Blatter, according to the AP. Blatter raised the issue again "when he traveled to Russia earlier this month for a series of meetings with Putin and local World Cup organizers." Putin said that the government discussed the issue and has "taken the decision not to reduce" the number of host cities. Asked whether Russia could be stripped of the hosting rights amid a dispute with UEFA over the status of football clubs in Crimea, Putin said, "I hope not" (AP, 8/29).