London: The head of the Russia 2018 World Cup bid has laughed off suggestions that the country has a problem with racism, ahead of CSKA Moscow's Champions League tie against Manchester City.
The tie would reportedly be played behind closed doors because of fans' alleged violence and use of racist banners.
Alexei Sorokin, who is in the Russian capital to attend FIFA's inspection of the Luzhniki Stadium 's reconstruction for the 2018 World Cup, dismissed suggestions that racism, events in Ukraine and the contentious awarding of the tournament to Russia created unwelcome controversy that the country's football authorities should be concerned about, The Independent reported.
Sorokin questioned what is the controversy about and added that they are absolutely certain that Russia would stage a remarkable tournament. He said that that is the focus of their effort, adding that he does not even understand what controversy they are talking about.
Sorokin said that the FIFA executive committee has recently reconfirmed their concept, which gives answer to many questions one might have.
Sorokin laughed off the suggestions that the concern about Russia felt by other football nations was therefore unfair.
Sorokin initially refused to answer questions on racism outside the Luzhniki, which is being gutted for its rebuild as the 81,000-capacity 2018 World Cup final venue. But he eventually made a grudging acknowledgement to admit there was a problem, saying that the Russian Football Union is making all the efforts to eradicate these things.