England lodge complaint about Russia World Cup bid chief

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Russia's World Cup bid chief insists he does not need to apologise for his remarks about London which have led England 2018 to make a formal complaint to FIFA.

England 2018 complained that Alexei Sorokin, chief executive of Russia 2018, highlighted London's "high crime rate" and youth alcohol problems in an interview that appeared to contravene FIFA's rules about talking about rival bidders.

An England 2018 spokesman said: "We can confirm a complaint has been made to FIFA."

Sorokin, who was at the International Football Arena conference in Zurich today, claims no apology is necessary.

He said: "I will provide an explanation to FIFA but I do not feel that what I said originally requires an apology."

Sorokin also expressed surprise at the timing of England's complaint - FIFA's ethics committee are already dealing with much more serious allegations of corruption involving two FIFA executive committee members, and collusion involving two bidding nations for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

It is understood England 2018 filed a complaint against Sorokin late last week, but as an individual rather than against the Russian bid.

They are seeking a formal apology from him for trying to denigrate their bid rather than expecting FIFA's ethics committee to deal with the case before the December 2 vote.

Sorokin had told Russian daily Sports Express: "We do not enter into squabbles, although we have much to say. It's no secret, for example, that in London they have the highest crime rate compared with other European cities, and the highest level of alcohol consumption among young people."

A Russia bid spokesman said Sorokin was using a metaphor to the Russian press to highlight difficulties in dealing with the international media and he afterwards expressed regret if his comments had been misinterpreted.