herald

Tuesday 17 October 2017

London is crime capital with teen drunks: Russia chief

Russia's 2018 World Cup bid leader has highlighted London's "high crime rate" and youth alcohol problems in an interview which appears to contravene FIFA's bidding rules prohibiting comments about rival bidders.

Alexei Sorokin, chief executive of the bid, said: "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."

Sorokin went on to again insist that a banner with a picture of a banana aimed at West Brom's striker Peter Odemwingie and produced by fans of his former club Lokomotiv Moscow was not racist.

He said: "We could have a conversation about the lack of tolerance and the inciting of ethnic hatred by English fans. But we do not behave like someone who is always saying bad things about their neighbours.

"The banner was not a racist one. It was directed against a particular player who got very good money, lived very well here, but for some reason did not seem to want to play well."

FIFA's rules specifically forbid bidding countries denigrating their opponents but it is unclear whether Sorokin could face any action.

FIFA's ethics committee is more focused on dealing with the fall-out from the weekend's bribery expose and investigating claims that two bidding countries colluded over votes.

The sport's world governing body announced that they have widened the scope of their investigation to probe suggestions that at least two countries bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups cut a deal over votes.

Meanwhile, disciplinary proceedings have been opened against the two FIFA executive committee members, Nigeria's Amos Adamu and Tahiti's Reynald Temarii, who were exposed as having asked undercover reporters for cash in return for their World Cup votes.

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