Putin says Russia ‘will do everything’ not to let down UEFA, fans
Russian President Vladimir Putin told the UEFA president Wednesday that his country would do its best to organise the Euro 2020 football tournament as Moscow risks a possible four-year doping ban.
“We will do everything not to let down you, fans and players,” Putin told Aleksander Ceferin in Saint Petersburg, which is due to host four games in the finals.
On Tuesday, a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) source said however that the Euro 2020 football tournament would be excluded from the potential ban. Saint Petersburg is one of 12 locations across Europe scheduled to host matches in next year’s tournament.
“This will be a special championship,” Putin said.
“This means a lot for us because when the first championship took place 60 years ago, the Soviet Union team won,” the Russian leader added, referring to the first European Football Championship.
Ceferin for his part praised the country’s ability to host major sporting events.
Stressing that he was not a diplomat, Ceferin said that the World Cup hosted in 2018 by Russia was “organised perfectly.”
“I really mean it,” he added.
“We at UEFA are very happy tha Russia is more and more a football country,” Ceferin said.
Russia pulled out all the stops to host the football extravaganza last year, the most important event in the country since the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics.
On Monday, anti-doping watchdog WADA’s compliance review committee recommended a four-year sporting ban against Russia over falsified lab data it received from the country.
If WADA chiefs adopt the review committee’s recommendations on December 9, Russia faces exclusion from key sporting events including the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. However, on Tuesday the WADA source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP the European championships were “not a major event.”
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