Russia denies bribing Fifa officials to host 2018 World Cup

A staff walks past a logo of football’s international governing body Fifa at their headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland May 27, 2015. Russia today denied allegations that it had bribed Fifa officials for the right to host the 2018 World Cup. — Reuters pic
A staff walks past a logo of football’s international governing body Fifa at their headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland May 27, 2015. Russia today denied allegations that it had bribed Fifa officials for the right to host the 2018 World Cup. — Reuters pic

MOSCOW, April 7 — The Kremlin today “categorically” denied allegations that Russia had bribed Fifa officials for the right to host the 2018 World Cup.

“Russia absolutely legally got the right to organise the World Cup,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

He said the decision was “not linked to any bribes, we categorically deny this.” 

“Russia organised the best football World Cup in history. We are proud of it,” he added.

According to US Justice Department documents released yesterday, Fifa officials received bribes to vote in favour of awarding the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the tournament in 2022 to Qatar.

“We have read the articles in the media. We do not understand what it is about,” Peskov said.

The allegations are linked to a wide-ranging 2015 corruption scandal that left world governing body Fifa in turmoil and led to the downfall of then-president Sepp Blatter.

In the ensuing years, the US government has accused a total of 45 people and various sports companies of more than 90 crimes and of paying or accepting more than US$200 million (RM867 million) in bribes.  — AFP

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