Russian sports minister: 2018 World Cup is FIFA’s “pearl”, won’t be moved

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Russia’s minister of sport may not have a spotless reputation, but Vitaly Mutko isn’t concerned about how the FIFA scandal could affect the country’s 2018 World Cup hosting duties.

Mutko (above, with Jerome Valcke) says the upcoming FIFA presidential election and replacement of Sepp Blatter won’t take the tournament from Russia, and said there is “no threat” to its status as host.

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The former president of Zenit Saint Petersburg and the Russian Football Union was the chairman for Russia’s successful bid to host the 2018 tournament. If the name rings a bell, Mutko has also been accused of writing off 97 breakfasts in 20 days and a $1,500-a-night hotel at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

Mutko called those charges “utter b—— and nonsense”. And he’s got equally strong words for the tournament in Russia.

From the Associated Press:

Mutko says that any new FIFA president will “provide full support” for Russia’s World Cup, which he called FIFA’s “pearl.”

FIFA should now “restore trust” in football after various scandals, he added.

The date for a new presidential election will be set at an emergency meeting of FIFA’s executive committee on July 20 in Zurich.

So… any new president, especially one interested in giving off the appearance of fairness, is going to ignore an FBI investigation as to whether its “pearl” is covered in corruption? That’s a lot of faith, Mr. Mutko.