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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Blatter Leaves the Door Open for Russia 2018

Sepp Blatter left the door open for a Russian bid for the 2018 World Cup on Wednesday. Denying that it was a foregone conclusion that Europe would host the competition, Blatter said that if the FIFA executive committee decided to stick strictly to its rotation policy, a country in North America would host the competition.

The three countries in contention, however, would be the United States, Mexico and Canada; the United States already hosted the tournament in 1994, while football is a minority sport in Canada and Mexico lacks the infrastructure.

England, which hosted the World Cup in 1966, has expressed a keen interest in staging the 2018 finals and the government strongly backs the idea. It is the strong favorite to host the 2018 World Cup, but Blatter, speaking to delegates of the Sports Industry Group in London, widened the scope of the debate, saying that if the World Cup were in Europe, England might face opposition from within its own confederation.

"Europe does not end at the European Union," he said.

"You have also to consider Russia. If it does go back to Europe, England would have a very good chance because they have the best technical infrastructure, safe stadiums and well-organized security. They are an example to the rest of the world."

Although Russia has not so far declared an interest in hosting the 2018 finals, the United States, Australia and China have.

The decision on where the finals of 2018 will be held is due to be made in 2012, shortly after London hosts the Olympic Games.