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FIFA rejects calls to strip Russia of World Cup

ZURICH (AP) - FIFA rejected calls to move the 2018 World Cup from Russia, saying the tournament "can achieve positive change."

Russia's alleged involvement in shooting down a Malaysia Airlines plane over Ukraine last week prompted calls from some lawmakers in Germany to review the country's hosting rights.

On Friday, FIFA issued a statement saying it "deplores any form of violence" and questioning the purpose of relocating the sport's showcase tournament.

"History has shown so far that boycotting sport events or a policy of isolation or confrontation are not the most effective ways to solve problems," FIFA said, adding that global attention on the World Cup "can be a powerful catalyst for constructive dialogue between people and governments."

The conflict between Ukraine and pro-Russia separatist rebels escalated days after the World Cup ended in Brazil.

On July 13 in Rio de Janeiro, Russian President Vladimir Putin attended a World Cup hosting handover ceremony with Brazilian counterpart Dilma Rousseff. Both then sat next to FIFA President Sepp Blatter to watch the final at the Maracana Stadium, won by Germany.

FIFA, which has Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko on its executive committee, said a World Cup in the country "can be a force for good."

"FIFA believes this will be the case for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia," the governing body said.

Blatter already rejected calls to strip Russia of the tournament after it annexed the Crimea this year.

"The World Cup has been given and voted to Russia and we are going forward with our work," Blatter said in March.

In a separate statement Friday, Mutko said a U.S.-led boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics had been a mistake.

"So there's no sense in reacting to politicians trying to make names for themselves," Mutko was quoted saying by Russian news agency R-Sport. "We're preparing in a calm way, building facilities, getting ready for the World Cup."

Russia has announced a $20 billion budget for building and renovating 12 stadiums, and other construction projects, for the first World Cup in Eastern Europe.

"FIFA has stated many times that sport should be outside politics," Mutko said. "Hosting an event like this, we're doing it for athletes from all over the world, for footballers, for the fans."

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eddield July 25 2014 at 10:57 PM

FIFA says sports "can achieve positive change." What good did the Olympics do? As soon as they were awarded to Russia they started cracking down on gays, then soon after annexed Crimea and shot down a jetliner.. Imagine what they'll do after the World Cup. FIFA is an incredibly corrupt organization and I'm sure they just don't want to have to give back the massive bribes they've taken

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1 reply
fredonesaid49 eddield July 26 2014 at 12:05 PM

This is a reply to that nitwit (jigokurei) he or she wont even leave a reply option because whoever you are you are a coward, and your post made absolutely no sense at all plus a total outright lie, and are you brainwashed, go back to russia you ninny.

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flowncoop July 26 2014 at 1:38 AM

I wrote to FIFA just two days after the plane was shot down. I also wrote to newspapers and friends to spread the word. Blatter is perhaps hiding the fact that a few notes changed hands and the people who handed out those notes might want a refund! Of course you can move it, and it should be moved. Teach them a lesson.

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Miss Melissa July 26 2014 at 8:07 AM

FIFA.... WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU????? ALL OF YOU?????? Despite the FACT that Europe is essentially ALL at war... protests, fighting, genocide, terrorism, airplanes disappearing out of the sky, being shot down BY and WITH THE HELP, financing, training of RUSSIA......you STILL think the WORLD should come to Russia for the WORLD CUP????? Europe is reaching a point where it is reaching the levels of danger of WWII!!!!! Even thought the World Cup is another 4 years away... the sanctions levied upon Russia (small though they may be now) Why should or would ANY person feel safe traveling to Europe, much less Russia???? Go ahead.. let them spend MILLIONS on building the facility.... but move the location...... Russia should be held accountable for their acts of terrorism for years and years to come.... moving the location would hit them financially, reduce tourism, hit them in the wallet, and they will suffer for it.... they MUST pay for the nearly 300 innocent lives that were taken

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Antoine July 26 2014 at 2:48 AM

There we go more proof of FIFA's corruption!...

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bcgme July 26 2014 at 2:03 AM

Russia has paid off so many people in FiFA that they wouldn't dare take it away from them. Putin would send his mafia after them. FiFA is all about graft!

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chiemac1 July 26 2014 at 1:55 AM

The USA, EU and the World should stand united in using TOUGH SANCTIONS with this tyrannical, corrupt and terroristic regime...Russia should pay for its war crimes!!!

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JIM REYNOLDS July 26 2014 at 8:51 AM

the world needs to boycott russia

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volntyr July 25 2014 at 6:07 PM

I wouldnt pull the World Cup away from Russia based on anything they are doing in Crimea or the shot down plane. I WOULD pull it after the very terrible infrastructure problem they had for the Sochi Olympic Games.

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1 reply
jigokurei volntyr July 25 2014 at 6:49 PM

somehow, the thumbs up rating for you won't go through...so here's my approval of your comment.

I see now that Hillary is quick to come on stage publicly to implicate and denounce Russia for being "responsible" for the place crash; is this the same rheteric she used to the UN to gain unfounded support to take out Gaddafi?

Russia would never down a civilian plane deliberately, just like the U.S. did of an Iranian plane...it was an accident deliberately staged by the Ukraine knowing the Pro-Russian's would shoot down...shoot down in restricted airspace. Why was the plane ordered to fly over the area? Why was the plane ordered to lower it's flight altitude? And more oddly, why was this an exact make and model plane that gone missing months earlier....very, very coincidental.

I wouldn't put it past Hillary, or this administration, from trying to support a war against Russia with many false appeals and no credible proof of evidence...especially after the BRICS Banking meeting? Really!?!

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4 replies
petpetdon July 25 2014 at 11:16 PM

FIFA ONLY cares about the cash, remember that.

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smokyjerry July 26 2014 at 5:05 AM

**** putin the terrorist

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