England’s 2018 World Cup bid team has lodged an official complaint with FIFA following remarks by the head of the rival Russian bid.
Alexei Sorokin highlighted a “high crime rate” in England as well as alluding to problems with youth alcohol consumption in a recent interview.
He went on to insist 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 added: “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 remarks appear to contravene FIFA regulations preventing bidders from talking about rival campaigns.
An England 2018 spokesperson said: “We can confirm a complaint has been made to FIFA.”
Alexei Sorokin retracted the remarks
Russia 2018 chief executive Sorokin has also apologised for the remarks, suggesting there has been a “misunderstanding”.
“I can only apologise for this misunderstanding,” he said. “We have the tapes of the interview and I know for a fact that I didn’t break any rules.
“I did not try to hurt or discredit our bid rivals, there was no malice intended, I’m 100 per cent sure of that.”
Despite this the England bid team are seeking a formal apology from Sorokin for trying to denigrate their bid.
The matter is not, however, expected to reach FIFA’s ethics committee.
World Cup Bidders
Russia, England and joint bids from Belgium/Holland and Spain/Portugal are in the running to host the 2018 World Cup.
A decision on who will host the tournament will be announced by FIFA on December 2nd following a secret ballot.
Qatar, Australia, the United States, Japan and South Korea are contesting the 2022 vote.
Whichever nation wins the right to host the FIFA World Cup, World Mobi has holidaymakers looking to visit covered.