President Vladimir Putin says he hopes Russia will not lose the right to hold the 2018 World Cup soccer tournament following calls by some in the West to strip Russia of the honor because of its role in the Ukraine crisis.
Speaking at a youth forum outside Moscow on August 29, Putin said that FIFA, world soccer's governing body, "has already said soccer and sport are outside politics, and I think that is the right approach."
In a statement on July 25, FIFA said, "History has shown so far that boycotting sports events or a policy of isolation or confrontation are not the most effective ways to solve problems."
Putin also said Russia's government has decided against reducing the number of stadiums that will host World Cup matches.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter suggested the number of stadiums be be cut to 10 from 12 and the number of host Russian cities cut from 11 to 9.
Based on reporting by Reuters, ITAR-TASS, and Interfax