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Russia Won't Lose World Cup Due To Corruption Inquiry, Minister Says

Russia will not lose the World Cup in 2018 because of the change in leadership and corruption scandal at FIFA, Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko said July 8.

"There is no threat to us here. The World Cup is a gem which has to be valued, and it will be," he told foreign journalists in Moscow.

Mutko said any new FIFA president elected to replace resigning Sepp Blatter would back Russia.

"If there's a new president...then he'll understand very well that it's a pearl and you need to look after it," he said.

Mutko has repeatedly said his country's bid was clean and brushed aside suggestions Russia might be affected by investigations into corruption at the world soccer governing body by the FBI and Swiss authorities.

Mutko also denied that Russia did anything improper recently by passing a law restricting the number of foreign players in Russian premier teams.

The law seeks to promote young Russian players as well as lay down migration policies, he said.

"We are required to protect the interests of our citizens. That's written in the constitution."

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters

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