Football: Blatter says Russia World Cup can ease tensions
FIFA leader Sepp Blatter said Friday that the 2018 World Cup in Russia would stabilise the region though he acknowledged "rumours" about the event.
Blatter said he was "sure" Russia would hold the 2018 event and added his voice to opposition over calls for a boycott of the 2018 World Cup over the conflict in Ukraine.
"A boycott of the World Cup or of any sporting event has never brokered any solutions," the FIFA leader told a press conference.
"In my opinion the World Cup in Russia will be able to stabilise the situation that in this region of Europe ... that is suffering now," he said.
"When I am looking at the geo-political map today, and I am looking towards Afghanistan, I am looking towards Iraq, towards Lebanon, towards Syria, towards Palestine.
"Football has never been the objective of any attack in this region. Football is respected because football is bringing emotion to these populations, football is connecting people."
Blatter said Russia would stage the 2018 World Cup, "that is sure". But he also acknowledged there are "a lot of rumours" about the event when explaining why FIFA has a $1.5 billion reserve partly as insurance against the risk that a World Cup is not held.
© 2015 AFP