Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - FIFA president: Russia World Cup will not be a ‘war’

FIFA president: Russia World Cup will not be a ‘war’

FIFA president Gianni Infantino speaks at a press conference in Bogota, Colombia on Friday. AFP
FIFA president Gianni Infantino speaks at a press conference in Bogota, Colombia on Friday. AFP

FIFA president: Russia World Cup will not be a ‘war’

FIFA president Gianni Infantino said on Saturday that the upcoming World Cup will not be a “war,” as Russian authorities and Vladimir Putin are committed to ensuring safety amid fears of fan clashes.

“We are not going to war,” Infantino said. “You will see that we are going to have a football party and if anyone wants to cause trouble, they will have problems.”

“The Russians are very committed to this World Cup being a total success,” he told a news conference in Panama.

There are concerns violence could erupt between fanatical “ultras”, particularly Russian and English fans, who clashed at the 2016 European Championship tournament in France.

However, the FIFA chief – explaining he had been involved in the organization of four European Championships – confirmed organisers in Russia are pulling out all the stops to avoid such incidents.

“I have a little bit of experience in organising big events and I have to say that I have never seen the level of preparation – especially in security – that I am seeing in Russia anywhere else,” he said.

The tournament – which runs from June 14 to July 15 – is set to attract fans from all over the world, as spectators will not need a visa to attend.

Infantino on Friday confirmed video assistant referee technology (VAR) will make its debut at the World Cup in Russia this summer despite lingering opposition from within and outside football.

“We are going to have in 2018, for the first time, a World Cup with VAR,” said Infantino after a meeting of the FIFA Council which, as expected, rubber-stamped the go-ahead given by the rule-making International Football Association Board (IFAB) in Zurich two weeks ago.

“This has been approved and we are really very happy with this decision.”

Iraq ban lifted

The World Cup, which takes place from June 14-July 15, will see VAR used to judge whether or not a goal has been scored, analyse whether a penalty should be awarded, decide on red cards and rectify if a player has been mistakenly sanctioned.

Meanwhile, FIFA said it was lifting the three-decade ban on Iraq hosting international football with the cities of Arbil, Basra and Karbala given the go-ahead to stage official matches.

“We are allowing international matches to be staged in the cities of Arbil, Basra and Karbala,” Infantino said.

However, FIFA added that they cannot “yet” agree to a request from the Iraqi authorities to organise matches in the capital of Baghdad.

Iraq has not played full internationals on home turf since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

The ban, covering all but domestic matches, stayed in place after the US-led invasion of 2003 toppled dictator Saddam Hussein.

It was briefly lifted in 2012, but a power outage during an Iraq-Jordan match in the Iraqi Kurdish capital Arbil led FIFA to promptly reinstate it.

The FIFA Council also decided that Peru will host the 2019 Under-17 World Cup with Poland staging the Under-20 tournament.

MOST VIEWED

  • Over $3M in traffic fines collected in two months

    Traffic police officers collected over $3 million in fines throughout the Kingdom during the past two months when officers strictly enforced the law in accordance with a May sub-decree, officials said. As incentives, law enforcement officers received between 200,000 and two million riel ($50 to $500) each. The figures

  • More than 10,000 workers suspended

    More than 10,000 workers at 18 factories in Svay Rieng province have been suspended because of Covid-19, said provincial deputy governor Ros Pharith. Home to 11 special economic zones, Pharith said Svay Rieng has not been spared as the pandemic takes a toll on the global economy. “There

  • Oz lauds Kingdom’s passage of money laundering laws

    In a press release published by the Australian embassy in Phnom Penh on Monday, the country applauded Cambodia’s stance on transnational crimes as well as its promulgation of an anti-money laundering law and a law on combating proliferation financing. The praise came after King

  • Lotus face masks designed to cover globe

    A French designer in Cambodia has produced ecological face masks from lotus fibre to supply local and international markets with an eye on preserving ancestral techniques and supporting Cambodian women in rural communities. During a trip to Asia, Awen Delaval, an eco-friendly fashion designer, was

  • Accused not treated equally, says CCHR

    The Cambodia Centre for Human Rights (CCHR) has urged the Court of Appeal to do more to ensure that an accused’s right to a fair trial is fully respected. In a bulletin released on Monday, the CCHR said it had monitored 273 cases at the

  • Fish, frogs to boost local food supply

    The government has disbursed more than $4.5 million to boost aquaculture production and domestic market supply amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon told The Post on Monday that in boosting agricultural production, the ministry has received financing from development partners

  • Planning ministry hands out cash to 420,000 poor families in Kingdom

    The Ministry of Planning has identified 20,000 more poor families in the country, bringing the total to over 580,000, while over 420,000 of them have received the government’s cash assistance. In the meantime, many social security cards from families not deemed to be poor have been revoked.

  • Nature in focus at inaugural film and photo festival

    The first Cambodian Wildlife Photo and Film Festival – an event celebrating the conservation of nature through the eyes of wildlife photographers, nature enthusiasts and conservation experts – is scheduled for July 18-26 at Fauna in Focus’ Nature Discovery Centre in Siem Reap. The festival will be

  • Investors’ $14.4M projects approved

    New investments from local and foreign sources continue to pour into Cambodia despite the Covid-19 pandemic remaining a lingering threat to regional and global economies. This comes as the Kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to contract between one and 2.9 per cent this

  • NagaWorld casinos set to reopen, schools to follow

    NAGACORP Ltd has requested that it be allowed to reopen its NagaWorld integrated resorts in Phnom Penh after the government recently approved casinos to operate again, provided they follow Covid-19 prevention measures set by the Ministry of Health. Mey Vann, the director-general of the Ministry