Russians deny any wrong-doing

Swiss prosecutors are looking into the bidding processes for the next two World Cups – in Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022 – following up on Michael Garcia’s report on behalf of FIFA, football’s world governing body.

One of the published findings from Garcia’s report into the Russia 2018 bid said that computers went missing, denying them the chance to see e-mails and gather evidence. The Russians claimed the computers were leased, then returned, then given to a school, before they went missing.

Alexei Sorokin told Sky Sports News that computers cannot be compared to antique cars and do not last forever.

He said: “We did nothing wrong. We did co-operate. We responded to every request. We talked openly to investigators when they wanted us to talk, where they wanted to talk. I don’t know what else we could do.”??

Regarding the computers, he said: “It’s the honest truth. I can’t change the past. It was leant to us and then taken back. Computers are not antique cars – they don’t last forever.

“The arrests on Wednesday are sad facts and very strange timing. These developments do not touch on us in any way. We have repeatedly said we are not afraid of any investigation and we co-operated fully with Mr Garcia. The process was transparent.

“We’re so deep into the preparation for an excellent World Cup we have done so much our country and our government. I don’t want to start discussing this with anyone. The executive committee of FIFA are very satisfied.

“We wish the current president all the success in the election. The organising committee does not get involved. We are here as observers, we are not here to vote.”

Meanwhile, former UEFA president Lennart Johansson has said England should be given the 2018 World Cup instead of Russia.??

Johansson, who lost the 1998 FIFA presidential election to Sepp Blatter, says the 2018 and 2022 World Cup awards should be reviewed in the light of the new corruption charges after seven FIFA officials??were arrested by police in Zurich on Wednesday??.

Johansson, 85, told Swedish newspaper Sportbladet: “I expect they will reconsider the (World Cup) decisions. Sepp Blatter himself has said that the decision to go east wasn’t proper. I am sure the initiative will now be taken to make a new decision.

“England haven’t had it since 1966 and it’s considered ‘the motherland of football’, whatever we might think. They are worthy of the attention.”

The Asian Football Confederation, however, has re-affirmed its support for embattled FIFA boss Sepp Blatter and pushed for Friday’s presidential election to go ahead.

The AFC, which represents 47 member nations, has been a staunch ally of the 79-year-old Swiss and the bloc’s support will be vital for his hopes of securing a fifth term.

A statement read: “The Asian Football Confederation expresses its disappointment and sadness at Wednesday’s events in Zurich whilst opposing any delay in the FIFA presidential elections.

“Furthermore, the AFC reiterates its decision taken at the AFC Congress in Sao Paulo in 2014, endorsed at subsequent Congresses in Melbourne and Manama in 2015, to support FIFA president Joseph S. Blatter.”

Comments