With a cloud hanging over Russia and Qatar’s successful World Cup bids, Russia’s Sports Minister has said preparations are pressing ahead for the 2018 competition.
This comes as the FBI announced that the probe into alleged corruption at FIFA includes scrutiny of the awarding of the next two tournaments.
But Moscow has indicated it is business as usual between Russia and football’s world governing body.
“At the last congress, we reported on how preparations were going and there wasn’t a single question. Everyone completely supports and trusts Russia,” said Vitaly Mutko, Russia’s Sports Minister. “Today, I absolutely don’t see any kind of threat.”
Speaking of the scandal surrounding the allocation of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup host nations, Qatari foreign minister, Khaled al Attiyah, said claims of dodgy dealing were merely a “bashing campaign” against the Arab country, based on “prejudice and racism.”
He told Reuters news agency there is “no way” Qatar will be stripped of the 2022 competition, expressing confidence the bid was honest.
But the nation’s stock market tells a different story. Fears Sepp Blatter’s exit could raise the risk of Doha losing its host status saw the Qatar Exchange close nearly flat on Wednesday, June 3, after a brief, sharp sell-off.