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Page last updated at 19:35 GMT, Thursday, 28 October 2010 20:35 UK

England to withdraw Russia 2018 complaint after apology

England 2018 bid
England last hosted the World Cup in 1966

England's 2018 World Cup bid team is to withdraw a complaint to Fifa about Russia's campaign following an apology from their rival bidder.

The Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko has apologised for comments made by bid chief Alexei Sorokin.

England's official complaint was that Russia had broken bidding rules when he made disparaging comments about London.

"Mr Mutko approached the bid team with a genuine apology in an honourable manner," said an England spokesman.

"We, of course, accepted this apology and appreciate the gesture. We now wish to move on from this matter."

Fifa's committee met on Thursday to receive reports on the bids.

The English bid team had complained on Tuesday that Sorokin highlighted London's "high crime rate" and youth alcohol problems in an interview with Russian media that appeared to contravene Fifa's rules about talking about rival bidders.

Mr Mutko approached the England 2018 bid team with a genuine apology in an honourable manner

England 2018 spokesperson

Tensions between the two bids then intensified after Viacheslav Koloskov, honorary president of the Russian Football Union, referred to England's 2018 bid as "absolutely primitive" and "comical".

But Sorokin admits he is happy to see a line drawn under the issue.

"I'm glad this whole thing is finally over to our mutual satisfaction and we can now proceed with our normal work," he said.

Aside from England and Russia's bids, Spain and Portugal have a joint bid on the table for 2018, as do Netherlands and Belgium.

Meanwhile, the 2022 World Cup hosts will be chosen from Australia, the United States, Qatar, Japan and South Korea.

The winning bids are set to be announced following a vote by the Fifa executive committee in Zurich on 2 December.

After England lodged their complaint with Fifa, Koloskov - who is not an official member of their bid team - had said it was a pointless gesture, before the apology from Mutko and subsequent withdrawal.

"There is no reason for Russia to fear sanctions," said Koloskov. "There won't even be an investigation.

"It's a comical situation. The English are afraid of how badly their bid is going. Instead of talking about their own advantages and merits, they try to disorient their rivals."

JAMES PEARCE'S BLOG

The Fifa ethics panel is currently investigating two voters, four former executive members and two bidders for alleged corruption in the 2018 and 2022 contests.

Its committee will be missing two of its 24 members in Zurich, with Nigerian Amos Adamu and Tahiti's Reynald Temarii both under investigation for allegedly offering to sell their votes.



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see also
Spain/Portugal rejects bid claims
28 Oct 10 |  Football
England 2018 makes Russia protest
26 Oct 10 |  Football
Russia to focus on 2018 Cup bid
22 Oct 10 |  Football
Fifa sets hard line on Cup voters
25 Oct 10 |  Football
Fifa official denies vote selling
22 Oct 10 |  Africa
Russia deny England bid criticism
19 Oct 10 |  Football
Fifa widens Cup bidding inquiry
18 Oct 10 |  Football
Fifa row 'will not hurt England'
18 Oct 10 |  Football
The World Cup in their hands
02 Dec 10 |  Football
World Cup bids head-to-head
17 Oct 10 |  Football
Fifa warning on World Cup votes
21 Sep 10 |  Football
England withdraw bid for 2022 Cup
15 Oct 10 |  Football


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