England 2018 demands apology from Russian bid
England’s 2018 World Cup bid has filed a complaint with FIFA after the head of Russia’s rival campaign made derogatory comments about London’s crime rate and alcohol problems.
England will be hoping that Alexei Sorokin’s remarks will have damaged Russia 2018’s chances by contravening FIFA’s strict rules set out to prohibit bid nations from criticising their rivals.
Sorokin, who on Tuesday night said he would only apologise for “misinterpretation” and for not any of his original comments, sparked controversy after he launched an attack on the English capital in an interview with a Russian newspaper.
“We do not enter into squabbles,” he was reported in English to have told Sport Express. “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.”
Sorokin, however, is adamant he has not broken any rules claims the controversy is simply the result of misinterpretation.
“I do not feel that what I said originally requires an apology,” he continued. “I am sure there is a record of that which, if forced, I’ll have to find,”
“If you’re talking specifically about my interview in the Sport Express and what the British media made out of it, I must say my words have been distorted in three different stages, creating all the fuss.
“First, people in the Sport Express had interpreted some of my comments in a vague way, not exactly what I was trying to express. Second, much of it was lost in translation from Russian into English and then, the rest was made up by the English journalists themselves.
He added: “Because of all these things the final content came out in a wrong way.”
England and Russia face competition to host the 2018 competition in the form of joint bids from Belgium/Holland and Spain/Portugal with FIFA set to announce the winner on 2 December.