Putin to discuss Russia's World Cup bid with FIFA head Blatter

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MOSCOW. October 15. KAZINFORM  Russia's bid to host the 2018 World Cup will get a top-level boost on Thursday when Prime Minister Vladimir Putin meets with FIFA President Sepp Blatter.

The bid, which was officially launched last Friday, has the full support of the government, with a high-level steering committee established under First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov.

The active involvement of the government, and particularly Putin, was instrumental in Russia's successful bid to host the 2014 Winter Olympics in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

Russian football, on something of a high since the national team's strong showing at Euro 2008, has stumbled in recent weeks as its first competitive home defeat, to Germany on Saturday, left it facing a playoff to reach the 2010 finals in South Africa.

Putin said last week that Russia has earned the right to host the World Cup, which he said would be a significant boost to the development of sport in the country.

Russia has seven competitors to host the 2018 tournament, including England, Australia and joint bids from Belgium and the Netherlands and Spain and Portugal. The official bid agreements must be received by FIFA on or before December 11, 2009, with a decision on hosting both the 2018 and 2022 tournaments to be made in December 2010,  Kazinform refers to RIA Novosti.

See www.en.rian.ru

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