England 2018 Bid chiefs make complaint over Sorokin comments
Tue 26th Oct 2010 | FIFA
England 2018 bid chiefs have made a formal complaint to FIFA about the head of Russia's rival campaign after he make derogatory comments about London.
Andrei Sorokin, chief executive of Russia 2018, highlighted London's "high crime rate" and youth alcohol problems in an interview that appeared to contravene FIFA's bidding rules on talking about rival bidders.
Sorokin has since made an apology but then insisted the remarks were true, and England 2018 reacted by filing a complaint against him late last week, but as an individual rather than the Russian bid.
An England 2018 spokesman said: "We can confirm a complaint has been made to FIFA."
It is understood the England bid team are seeking a formal apology from Sorokin for trying to denigrate their bid rather than expecting FIFA's ethics committee to deal with the case before the December 2 vote.
The ethics committee are already dealing with allegations of corruption involving two FIFA executive committee members, and collusion involving two bidding nations for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
Sorokin had told Russian daily Sports Express: "We do not enter into squabbles, although we have much to say. It's no secret, for example, that in London they have the highest crime rate compared with other European cities, and the highest level of alcohol consumption among young people."
Sorokin insisted Russia had no real problem with racism and pointed out that anti-Glazer fans had burned a Stars and Stripes flag at Old Trafford.
He said: "We could have a conversation about the lack of tolerance and the inciting of ethnic hatred by English fans. But we do not behave like someone who is always saying bad things about their neighbours."
The following day, Sorokin added: "Yes, that's what I said - but it is true" and later the Russian bid apologised with a spokesman saying: "Mr Sorokin regrets if his statements have led to such an erroneous interpretation and understanding."
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