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MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Russian team that successfully bid to host the 2018 World Cup had no knowledge of who would win until the vote on choosing a host was publicly announced, the head of the Russian organising committee said on Friday.
The committee "only learnt about the decision of the FIFA Executive Committee when it was made public on 2 December 2010 and was beforehand neither aware of or involved in discussions as mentioned in recent media reports," committee chief executive Alexei Sorokin said in a statement released by the committee.
"With the bid as a whole, our country presented a compelling proposition that we believe was convincing and competitive. We are sure Russia won the right to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup based on the excellence of its concept," Sorokin said.
He said the bid was in full compliance with the code of ethics of FIFA, world soccer's governing body, and with rules governing the bidding process.
The committee issued the remarks in response to comments earlier this week by FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who has been suspended for 90 days by FIFA's Ethics Committee amid a corruption investigation.
Blatter told Russia's TASS news agency about the bidding process: "It was agreed that we go to Russia (for 2018) ... and for 2022 we go back to America."
Reporting by Christian Lowe; Editing by Lidia Kelly