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Old 16th July 2014, 06:52 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Putin inherits World Cup baton, promises 'unforgettable' 2018

Putin inherits World Cup baton, promises 'unforgettable' 2018


(From L) FIFA President Joseph Blatter and Russia's President Vladimir Putin pose during handing over of the World Cup 2018 to Russia on July 13, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro

By Alexandre Fedorets | AFP News


Russia's President Vladimir Putin on Sunday vowed "an unforgettable football feast" when his country hosts the 2018 World Cup.

After spending more than the $50 billion on this year's Sochi Winter Olympics, Putin faces another multi-billion dollar bill for the project.

The 2018 World Cup is Russia's most ambitious project since the fall of the Soviet Union.

But Putin is confident.

"We will do all we can to organise the event on the highest level,” he vowed at Rio de Janeiro's Maracana stadium.

"We successfully hosted the Winter Olympics...in Sochi and now know exactly what a challenge it is to organise an event of such calibre," he added on Friday.

The Kremlin strongman said Russia wanted to learn from the experience of Brazil which won plaudits for the colourful tournament despite dire warnings of street protests, rushed construction and crime.

"We will do our best to present the world an unforgettable football feast and genuine Russian hospitality in 2018," Putin told Cuba's Prensa Latina and Russia's state ITAR-TASS news agencies.

For February's Winter Olympics Moscow pumped $50 billion into transforming the Black Sea resort of Sochi into a glittering sports venue, making the games the most expensive in history and vastly outstripping initial estimates.

The World Cup presents an even bigger challenge with a radical overhaul needed of sports, tourist and transport infrastructure in a string of under-developed regions across the vast country.

Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko initially estimated the total cost of the 2018 World Cup at 680 billion roubles ($20 billion/14.7 billion euros), saying half will come from private investment and half from eight regional budgets.

- harsh winters -

Matches will be played in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Sochi, Volga region city Kazan, Yekaterinburg in the Urals, Kaliningrad, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, Saransk, Rostov-on-Don and Volgograd.

Some of the venues are already complete or well on schedule -- but elsewhere work will be starting from scratch.

Moscow's iconic Luzhniki stadium, built in 1956 and which hosted the 1980 Olympics, the 2008 Champions League final and 2013 World Athletics Championships, is being transformed into an 81,000-seat arena fit to hold the opening match and the final.

Spartak Moscow's new 42,000-seater stadium goes into service in September while the 45,100-seater venue at Kazan, which hosted the World Student Games last year, is already operational.

Saint Petersburg's 70,000-seat Gazprom arena is expected to be ready in May 2016 and Sochi's Olympic Fisht ground will soon increase its capacity to 45,000 seats.

Elsewhere, a mammoth task lies ahead with a state-run firm chosen to build stadiums in six provincial cities from scratch and renovate the ground in the easterly city of Yekaterinburg.

"We expect to start building works in August or September at latest. We believe all the venues will be ready in time," Mutko promised Putin.

According to a confirmed construction plan 106.8 billion roubles ($3.16 billion/2.37 billion euros) has been earmarked from the state budget for the gigantic job.

Russia's preparations received praise from FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

"The Russians have started to work so hard right from the start," Blatter said.

"It's a different approach. I am very happy."

FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke, speaking in May, said that Russia, where harsh winters could make deadlines tight, had to anticipate problems.

"Russia will not be easy," he warned.

It's not only infrastructure that needs an overhaul but also Russia's football culture and the national team.

The country suffers from racism and hooliganism in stadiums. Its clubs and national team have to improve ahead of 2018.

Coach Fabio Capello guided Russia to their first World Cup finals since 2002 in Brazil but failed to win a game and came home after the first round.

Mutko, who has backed under-fire Capello, said: "We have no right to disgrace ourselves in 2018 in front of our home supporters. It is inadmissible."

https://sg.sports.yahoo.com/news/putin-inherits-world-cup-baton-promises-unforgettable-2018-032347197--sow.html

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Old 16th July 2014, 05:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Putin inherits World Cup baton, promises 'unforgettable' 2018

And we shall see how National Council on Problem Gambling will predict.

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Old 16th July 2014, 08:31 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Putin inherits World Cup baton, promises 'unforgettable' 2018

The question is can he prevent another Sochi white elephant from happening ?

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Old 18th July 2014, 07:06 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by *StarDust* View Post
And we shall see how National Council on Problem Gambling will predict.
Only time will tell.

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Old 25th July 2014, 08:54 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Calls in Germany to strip Russia of 2018 World Cup

Calls in Germany to strip Russia of 2018 World Cup
AFP News – Thu, Jul 24, 2014 1:39 AM SGT


German politicians demanded Wednesday that Russia be stripped of the right to host the 2018 World Cup for fuelling the Ukraine conflict, although football officials quickly rejected the idea.

Amid outrage over the downing of a Malaysian jet in Ukraine with a suspected missile, lawmakers and commentators in Germany, as well as Britain and Sweden, suggested that another country host the global sporting event.

Peter Beuth, interior minister of Germany's central Hesse state, said that if President Vladimir Putin does not get "actively involved in the investigation of the plane crash, then a 2018 World Cup is unimaginable in Russia".

Beuth, who heads Germany's conference of state sports ministers, called on football's world governing body FIFA to review the choice of host nation.

Senior conservative lawmaker Michael Fuchs said that Germany, along with France and Italy, could easily host the championship instead.

"We have enough stadiums that are World Cup ready," he said, stressing that such a boycott would hurt Russia more than economic sanctions.

Another conservative parliamentarian, Stephan Mayer, said that if Putin "does not relent and keeps fuelling the crisis, it must no longer be a taboo idea to take away from Russia the World Cup".

However, Theo Zwanziger, a FIFA executive committee member and former president of German football body DFB, rejected the idea.

"Calls for a FIFA intervention always come very quickly. Sports boycotts have rarely achieved anything, and that's why I think nothing of such a proposal," he told Handelsblatt Online.

"The World Cup has been awarded to Russia, contracts have been signed and rights have been awarded."

A German government spokesman also dismissed the issue, saying the Cup "is still four years away. I think we have more pressing problems."

Meanwhile in the Netherlands -- 193 of whose citizens died in the MH17 crash -- the national football federation said that "during these black days" it was too early to discuss the issue or a possible boycott.

"We realise that a future World Cup in Russia will be very emotive for all football lovers and relatives of the dead in the Netherlands," a federation statement read.

In Britain, conservative MP Tracey Crouch, a member of the culture, media and sport select committee, also said "Russia ought to be stripped now ... Football could be used to put pressure on President Putin to change some of his practices."

Football Association chairman Greg Dyke had told a parliament hearing Tuesday that "I don't think that you can make a decision based on one week's events without looking at the longer term".

In Sweden, Per Kaageson of Stockholm's Royal Institute of Technology, argued in the Svenska Dagbladet daily that "for Russia and for Putin personally, the loss of the World Cup would be a big defeat".

"Not only Ukraine but also the Netherlands, Malaysia and Australia can be expected to have mixed feelings regarding a tournament in Russia."

Source: https://sg.sports.yahoo.com/news/cal...1951--sow.html

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Old 25th July 2014, 08:21 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Putin inherits World Cup baton, promises 'unforgettable' 2018

Even World Cup also can be politicized...Sigh

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Old 30th July 2014, 06:47 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Putin inherits World Cup baton, promises 'unforgettable' 2018

Russia should lose 2018 soccer World Cup over Ukraine - UK deputy PM
By Mike Collett and Andrew Osborn | Reuters – Sun, Jul 27, 2014 11:34 PM SGT


LONDON (Reuters) - Russia should be stripped of the right to host the 2018 football World Cup unless President Vladimir Putin stops destabilising Ukraine, Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said on Sunday, warning the world would look weak if it did not act.

Clegg, the most senior British politician to call for such action, said Putin's behaviour towards Ukraine was "beyond the pale" and had reached "a tipping point".

He spoke out as fighting around the site of MH17, the Malaysian airliner downed in eastern Ukraine on July 17, prevented a visit by international experts and as the European Union weighed new sanctions on Russia.

"If there's one thing that Vladimir Putin cares about, as far as I can see, it's his sense of status," Clegg told The Sunday Times newspaper.

"Maybe reminding him that you can't retain the same status in the world if you ignore the rest of the world, maybe that will have some effect on his thinking."

The intervention by Clegg, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, the junior partner in Britain's two-party coalition, put pressure on Prime Minister David Cameron, the leader of the ruling Conservatives, to clarify his position on the matter.

A spokeswoman for Cameron told Reuters the British leader was not in favour of taking the World Cup away from Russia at this stage, but signalled his position could change.

"The prime minister does not believe we should reach immediately for boycotts, but it is also not surprising, given Russian behaviour, that people are starting to raise the issue," the spokeswoman said.

"It shows the importance of Russia changing course, before its international standing is damaged even further."

Clegg said it was up to Putin to change his Ukraine policy.

"He (Putin) can’t constantly, you know, push the patience of the international community beyond breaking point, destabilise a neighbouring country, protect these armed separatists in the east of Ukraine and still have the privilege and honour of receiving all the accolades in 2018 for being the host nation of the World Cup," Clegg said.

FIFA DISAGREES

Some German politicians have also called for Russia to be stripped of the right to host the tournament, but FIFA, soccer's world governing body, has so far resisted the demands, saying the competition could be "a force for good".

Almost 200 Dutch citizens lost their lives in the incident and the Dutch football association has said it will meet in due course to decide if it will take part in the qualifying competition for the finals in Russia.

Western politicians have taken an increasingly tough line on Russia since the downing of MH17, accusing Moscow of arming the separatists there, something Russia denies.

Clegg said the world would look weak and insincere if it allowed Russia to stage the World Cup it without a change of course by Putin in Ukraine.

"You can’t have this - the beautiful game marred by the ugly aggression of Russia on the Russian-Ukrainian border," he said.

Britain's opposition Labour party also said stripping Russia of the World Cup should be an option if its complicity in the downing of MH17 was proven and if Putin did not change course.

"Fifa should be considering contingencies now and any discussion should happen quickly, so that if necessary, alternative plans are in place in time for teams and fans from around the world," Douglas Alexander, Labour's spokesman on foreign affairs, said in a statement.

Britain, which is home to many wealthy Russians, said on Saturday it thought it highly likely that MH17 was shot down from a separatist-controlled area with a missile system supplied by Moscow.

Russia's ambassador to Britain has said Moscow is only providing humanitarian aid to the separatists. He said there was no proof of his country's involvement.

Clegg also said Russia should not be allowed to host a Formula One Grand Prix in October, but F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has said that event will go ahead as planned.

(This story has been refiled to fix USN issue, text unchanged)

(Editing by Gareth Jones)

https://sg.sports.yahoo.com/news/rus...12720--f1.html

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