Russia might have already given up on winning the 2018 World Cup bid if reports emerging from Zurich are anything to go by. When heads of most delegations including figures like heads of governments, royalty, football stars and keen enthusiasts are eagerly awaiting the news. Russian Prime Minister Vladmir Putin will be sitting pretty in his home where he will be watching the proceedings on television.
Apparently, the former President does not want to travel to Zurich because he does not want to be involved in ‘unfair competition’. Russia will instead send their First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov in his place.
The smear campaign of the infamous BBC Panorama programme which accused 3 FIFA executives of taking bribes is the main reason for Putin’s absence.
“I view that as unfair competition,”
“Such methods we consider to be absolutely inadmissible. Recently we have unfortunately seen a clear campaign against members of the FIFA executive committee.”
Putin believes that his presence would create pressure for the 22 man committee and that is something he does not intend to do.
“I would love to represent our entry in person,”
“However, under these circumstances, I think it would be best not to go out of respect for the members of the FIFA executive committee, so that they can make their decision in peace and without any outside pressure.”
Its now only a couple of hours until FIFA make the ultimate decision and as much as England are considered the front runners, you cannot rule out the Russians.
Photo credit: from Franz Himmler