Sport: FIFA insists Russia WC 2018 draw will not be rigged


FIFA has insisted the 2018 World Cup draw will not be rigged.

The move to reassure football fans follows last year’s claims by former FIFA president Sepp Blatter that hot and cold balls were used to fix some European level fixtures.

Dealing with hooligans is one of the great challenges that Russia faces during the World Cup next year.

As the country prepares to host the event, at least one Russian hooligan, a supporter of Spartak Moscow, was arrested in Bulgaria on Sunday after clashes between supporters during a CSKA Sofia match.

The Russians have a reputation of kicking people instead of kicking a football. Remember the headline-grabbing brawls in the southern French city of Marseille in June 2016 during the Euro 2016, when Russian and English fans clashed in what became the worst violence to hit international football since the 1998 World Cup that was also held in France.

The attention of the sporting world will be on Russia today as the draw for the 2018 World Cup is conducted.
Friday’s final draw is billed to take place at the State Kremlin Palace and will start at 6 pm Moscow time (4 pm Nigeria time).
The Super Eagles of Nigeria, as well as 31 other countries, will be part of Friday’s draw that will reveal the group opponents of the participating teams.
Gary Lineker, who played in the 1986 and 1990 finals for England and scored in both competitions, will conduct the draw alongside Russian star, Maria Komandnaya.
Nigeria is in Pot 4, alongside Serbia, Australia, Japan, Morocco, Panama, Korea Republic, and Saudi Arabia.
It means the eight countries cannot meet each other in the group stage of the tournament next year.

POT 1: Russia; Germany; Brazil; Portugal; Argentina; Belgium; Poland; France
POT 2: Spain; Peru; Switzerland; England; Colombia; Mexico; Uruguay; Croatia
POT 3: Denmark; Iceland; Costa Rica; Sweden; Tunisia; Egypt; Senegal; Iran
POT 4: Serbia; Nigeria; Australia; Japan; Morocco; Panama; Korea Republic; Saudi Arabia.

Host Cities: Moscow; Ekaterinburg; Saransk; Rostov-On-Don; Kazan; Kaliningrad; Sochi; Samara; Saint Petersburg; Volgograd; Nizhny Novgorod

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