Fifa committed to holding the 2018 World Cup in Russia despite tensions in the region

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (right) and Fifa president Sepp Blatter take part in the official handover ceremony for the 2018 World Cup scheduled to take place in Russia, in Rio de Janeiro on July 13, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (right) and Fifa president Sepp Blatter take part in the official handover ceremony for the 2018 World Cup scheduled to take place in Russia, in Rio de Janeiro on July 13, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

ZURICH (Reuters) - Fifa remains committed to the 2018 World Cup in Russia and says a boycott would not be an effective way of reducing tensions in the region, football's world governing body said on Friday.

The ongoing conflict between pro-Russian separatists and the Ukraine government came to a head last week with the downing of a Malaysian Airlines passenger plane, leading to the deaths of 298 people.

Moscow denies supporting the separatists, but following the disaster senior German lawmakers raised the possibility of stripping Russia of the hosting rights to the World Cup.