2018 World Cup CEO says soccer violence concern
Fan violence in Russian soccer remains ”a concern” and
measures including a better ticketing system and security cameras
in stadiums will be introduced to ensure fans are safe during the
2018 World Cup.
Alexey Sorokin, the head of the tournament, addressed the issue
Tuesday while on the sidelines of a sports conference in Dubai,
saying he is ”disappointed” that Russia continues to be
associated with soccer violence while admitting more needs to be
done to stamp out the problem.
The problem was highlighted last month when a match between
Dynamo Moscow and Zenit St. Petersburg was called off after the
Dynamo goalkeeper was injured by a firecracker thrown from the
”We don’t doubt that we can bring the security up to the level
where it’s absolutely safe both on the streets and inside the
stadium,” he said. ”We are not concerned that the security system
will be compromised in any way. It’s something that is
disappointing that somehow these things are associated with
football and associated with Russian football. We will take very
serious measures to avoid these things in the future.”
Sorokin also struck out at critics who have suggested that
Russia and 2022 World Cup host Qatar won their bids unfairly. There
have never been direct allegations of wrongdoing by Russia, but the
whole World Cup voting process was called into question after two
members of FIFA’s executive committee were suspended following a
British newspaper investigation into vote-trading before the 2018
and 2022 decisions.
”We are clean and we didn’t witness any hints from anyone,
certainly not exco (executive committee) members or those around
them, of improper activities,” Sorokin said.
”There has been a lot of talk mostly about Qatar, regrettably,
but us as well,” he said. ”If anyone had any information, any
proof would be out already. It seems nobody has anything tangible.
Therefore there are only suggestions, insinuations. It has to stop
somewhere. If there is anything, let them show. If there is
nothing, let’s stop the talk about it.”
Sorokin said it would have been ”suicide” to denigrate another
bid let alone try to buy off FIFA voters.
”It’s stupid to even imagine that a bid leader or bid could
openly offer money to somebody. It could be suggested by a person
who has no clue about the bidding,” he said. ”You are afraid
about making the wrong move every day in terms of FIFA ethics,
general ethics. You are afraid to compare yourself to another
competitor, say something wrong in the media. To make such a step
that would end your bid would be suicide.”