Football: No plan to move World Cup out of Russia, says Infantino

Gianni Infantino, Fifa President
Gianni Infantino, Fifa President

BERLIN • Fifa president Gianni Infantino has ruled out taking the 2018 World Cup Finals from Russia in the wake of the latest findings from the McLaren report.

"Fifa is not the world police and certainly not the world doping police," the head of world football's governing body told German magazine Der Spiegel.

"Our disciplinary bodies will take care of anything in the McLaren report which has anything to do with football. Boycotts and bans have never solved any problems."

The McLaren report, the second part of which was announced 11 days ago, revealed systematic doping in Russia between 2011 and lst year. The findings involved more than 1,000 athletes in several sports, including football.

Infantino says Fifa is still waiting for the "relevant information" from the McLaren reports which mentions 31 tampered doping samples from footballers.

'THE BANS DON'T WORK'

Fifa is not the world police and certainly not the world doping police... Boycotts and bans have never solved any problems.

GIANNI INFANTINO, Fifa president, commenting on suggestions that the 2018 World Cup Finals be taken away from Russia in the wake of the country's doping scandal.

The Swiss said, "If measures need to be taken, they will be", but he pointed to the work Fifa is already doing to combat doping.

"Testing was not implemented by Brazil in 2014 or by South Africa in 2010 and won't be carried out by Russia in 2018, but by Fifa," he said.

When asked about the recent "Football Leaks", reported by several publications including Der Spiegel, which alleged tax evasion by high-profile stars including Cristiano Ronaldo and Jose Mourinho, Infantino said it is a matter for individual national federations.

"It is naive to believe that Fifa can know everything from Zurich which goes on during every transfer in the world," he said. "So it makes sense to give the responsibility to the unions and federations.

"They should check the transfers, which take place in their own country when someone hasn't paid their taxes, drives too fast or is drunk behind the wheel, then Fifa is not responsible for that."

Infantino also said Fifa will lead a meeting of football representative bodies early next year to discuss transfers in the wake of last week's "Football Leaks" revelations.

"We need to start a huge job of reflection including all parties: players, clubs, intermediaries, but also the authorities, notably the European Commission," he said.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 20, 2016, with the headline 'No plan to move World Cup out of Russia, says Infantino'. Print Edition | Subscribe