England camp furious over Russian WC 2018 soccer bid chief’s derogatory commentsBy ANI
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
LONDON - England’s 2018 World Cup bid has filed a complaint with FIFA after the head of Russia’s campaign made derogatory comments about London’s crime rate and alcohol problems.
Alexei Sorokin, the Chief Executive of the Russian bid, sparked controversy after he launched an attack on London in an interview with a Russian newspaper.
“We do not enter into squabbles although we have much to say. It’s no secret, for example, that London has the highest crime rate when compared with other European cities, and the highest level of alcohol consumption among young people,” the Guardian quoted Sorokin, as saying in the interview.
He also reportedly said that Manchester United supporters burning a US flag in protest against the club’s American owners were “inciting ethnic hatred”.
FIFA’s rules dictate that bidders must not make comments about their rivals “whether adverse or otherwise”.
Meanwhile, Sorokin has said that he would explain the comments, arguing that they had been misinterpreted and mistranslated.
“I do not feel that what I said originally requires an apology. I am sure there is a record of that which, if forced, I’ll have to find,” Sorokin said.
“The idea was that the media did not focus on the negative manifestations of any other societies, ours or anyone else’s. The examples may have been bad examples, as it turned out, but they were just examples,” he added.
England and Russia, along with Belgium/Holland and Spain/Portugal, are bidding to host the 2018 World Cup.
FIFA will announce the winner on December 2. (ANI)