Swiss and U.S investigators have never been in touch, says Russia World Cup chief

Thu Nov 19, 2015 10:36am EST
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By Simon Evans

ZURICH (Reuters) - Russia's World Cup chief said on Thursday that Swiss and U.S investigators looking into corruption in global soccer have not been in contact with him and he had no doubt the competition would go ahead in Russia in 2018.

FIFA's award of the World Cup to Russia in 2018 and to Qatar in 2022 is one of the strands under scrutiny by U.S. and Swiss authorities carrying out investigations into the activities of some of the officials of the world soccer body.

But Alexei Sorokin, chief executive for World Cup 2018, told Reuters in an interview that neither the relevant Swiss nor U.S. authorities had even been in touch with his committee.

"We have not been contacted by a single official, be it from Switzerland or the U.S. or from any other country," he said at the International Football Arena conference at FIFA headquarters, adding that he knew of the investigations only from the media.

Sorokin said that Russia had cooperated with FIFA's own investigation, which was led by U.S lawyer Michael Garcia.

"We went through an investigation at the request of FIFA, by the appropriate FIFA committee. The findings are public. To the best of our efforts we complied. We submitted everything that was required. We spoke to officials conducting these investigations. We couldn’t do more, so we think the matter is effectively over," he said. Swiss investigators declined to comment on Sorokin's remarks. U.S investigators were not immediately available.

Buffeted by scandals over the last few years, FIFA was thrown into turmoil in May by the U.S. indictments of 14 soccer officials, including two FIFA vice-presidents, and sports marketing executives for alleged corruption.

With 11 of the 22 men who voted to back Russia and Qatar in the December 2010 vote having been banned or placed under investigation, some critics have raised the issue of a possible re-vote.   Continued...

Head of the organising committee for the 2018 World Cup Alexei Sorokin touches his hair as he takes part at the World Football Forum in Moscow, June 11, 2015. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin