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FIFA Rejects Calls That World Cup Construction In Kazan Is Harmful

FIFA President Gianni Infantino
FIFA President Gianni Infantino

KAZAN, Russia -- Soccer's world governing body, FIFA, has rejected complaints from environmentalists about the construction of a stadium parking lot for the 2018 World Cup in Kazan, saying the project is not damaging the environment.

Activists in the capital of Russia's Tatarstan republic say they received a response on December 1 from FIFA officials in response to an open letter that was addressed to FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

That letter, sent to Infantino on November 8, said authorities in Kazan were cutting down a 3.8-hectare grove of birch and other trees along the Kazanka River to build a parking lot for Kazan Arena.

FIFA replied with a statement that said "based on the current analysis, no protected zone is being damaged."

On November 26, police in Kazan detained several activists ahead of protests they had planned during a visit to Kazan by Infantino.