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Russian Officials Respond to FIFA Probe

FIFA President Sepp Blatter and Russian President Vladimir Putin during the official handover ceremony for the 2018 World Cup. Alexey Nikolsky

The organizing committee of the 2018 soccer World Cup in Russia said on Wednesday it is ready to cooperate with the relevant authorities investigating the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding process.

The committee's press service said in an emailed statement that the 2018 World Cup bid campaign was fully compliant with the rules and statues of the soccer world governing body, FIFA.

At the same time, the Russian Foreign Ministry called the arrests of officials with the soccer governing body an illegal attempt by the United States to impose its laws on foreign states.

"Without going into details about the charges that have been brought up, we point to the fact that this is another case of the illegal extraterritorial application of U.S. laws," the ministry said in a statement on its web site.

It said it hoped the arrests will not be used to tarnish FIFA's image and will not cast a shadow on the organization's decisions, including personnel decisions.

"Once again, we urge Washington to stop trying to set itself up as a judge far outside its borders and to follow the generally accepted international legal procedures," the ministry said.

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