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'No One Will Take Away Our World Cup,' Russian Football Association Says

The Russian Football Association moved to silence calls by Western politicians to strip the country of its right to host the 2018 World Cup over the situation in Ukraine, saying Wednesday that "no one" would prevent Russia from hosting the tournament.

"We are preparing for the 2018 World Cup, which no one will take away from Russia," Nikolai Tolstykh, the association's president, told FIFA and UEFA representatives gathered in St. Petersburg on Wednesday, TASS reported.

Russia is currently hosting FIFA's technical conference, where representatives of Europe's national squad review the events of Brazil's 2014 World Cup and discuss potential technical adjustments for the next edition of the tournament in 2018.

Earlier this month, FIFA President Sepp Blatter said the association was not reconsidering Russia's right to host the 2018 World Cup.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told TASS last week that Russia was counting on the "judiciousness" of FIFA and UEFA, saying that he hoped politics would not spill over into sports.

Russia is set to host the next World Cup in 11 cities, including Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kazan, from June 8, 2018, to July 8, 2018.


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