Talks of stripping Russia of WC downplayed

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iol spt pic Putin_blatter REUTERS Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) and Fifa President Sepp Blatter take part in the official hand over ceremony for the 2018 World Cup scheduled to take place in Russia. Photo: Alexey Nikolsky/RIA Novosti/Kremlin

London - It is premature to talk about stripping Russia of the right to host the 2018 World Cup because of political tensions over Ukraine, English FA chairman Greg Dyke said on Tuesday.

“I don't think that you can make a decision based on one week's events without looking at the longer term,” Dyke told lawmakers in a hearing at the British parliament.

Dyke had been asked whether Russia was an appropriate World Cup host following the downing of a passenger plane over Ukraine last week which Western nations have blamed on separatists backed by Moscow.

Dyke also said that the decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar should be re-examined if an investigation by American lawyer Michael Garcia finds wrongdoing.

“If Mr Garcia shows that there have been corrupt activities, the whole thing should be reconsidered,” he said.

Garcia, who has been leading a Fifa ethics committee investigation into allegations of corruption surrounding the award of the 2022 World Cup to the Gulf state, will submit his report in September.

Dyke said he was convinced that the tournament would not be held in June or July if it was played in Qatar because of the intense heat, with a move to a cooler time of the year a certainty.

He also said that Fifa President Sepp Blatter would be re-elected if he stands again next year despite corruption allegations surrounding world soccer's governing body. Blatter has been head of Fifa since 1998.


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