Fifa corruption: Putin says Russia should not be investigated over World Cup

'We won in a fair fight and are going to host the World Cup'

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The Independent Online

Vladimir Putin has dismissed questions over Russia's right to host the 2018 World Cup, claiming the country "fought in an honest manner".

Following a wide-reaching corruption scandal that rocked Fifa and prompted the resignation of president Sepp Blatter, it has been suggested that the tournament could be stripped from Russia and Qatar if the bidding process is found to be have been compromised.

The head of Fifa's auditing and compliance committee, Domenico Scala, last month warned that this is a possibility.

 

Speaking at an investment forum in St Petersburg, Putin insisted that Russia played by the rules.

"We fought in an honest manner and we won," he said. "We do not think the decision should be question. We were ready and that's what convinced Fifa."

An internal corruption investigation last year - published only in part, and disputed by author Michael Garcia - was not provided adequate documentation by the Russian bid to make a fair appraisal.

Garcia was banned from entering the country by the Russian government, and the bid committee claimed it had used leased computers that were returned and then destroyed.

The Russian government is deeply suspicious of the reasons for the recent Fifa corruption crisis, with the foreign ministry accusing Washington of "trying to administer justice far beyond its borders".

Putin said yesterday: "If anyone has evidence, let them present it. We won in a fair fight and are going to host the World Cup."

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