x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

England will not react to Russia

England's 2018 World Cup bid team will not be responding to the latest remarks criticising their campaign from Russia.

England's 2018 World Cup bid team will not be responding to the latest remarks criticising their campaign from Russia.

Tensions between the rival tournament bidders has intensified after Viacheslav Koloskov, honorary president of the Russian Football Union, referred to England 2018 as "absolutely primitive" and "comical".

Koloskov's remarks came in response to a formal complaint made by England to world governing body Fifa concerning the conduct of the Russian bid's leader.

England complained to Fifa that Alexei Sorokin, chief executive of Russia 2018, had highlighted London's "high crime rate" and youth alcohol problems in an interview that appeared to contravene Fifa's rules on talking about rival bidders.

Koloskov said: "It's a comical situation. The English are afraid of how badly their bid is going.

"Their journalists are provoking members of the committee, and they now say one of the members of our bidding team has spoken out against England in an improper manner.

"I think it's a raising of tensions ... These acts have little chance of success. The behaviour of the English is absolutely primitive. Instead of talking about their own excellence and merits, they try to put off their opponents."

Koloskov is a former member of Fifa and Uefa's executive committees but is not a formal member of the Russian bid team.

His comments therefore cannot be acted upon by Fifa and it is understood England 2018 will not make an official response.

Meanwhile, the joint Spain and Portugal bid to host the 2018 World Cup have denied claims of alleged collusion with Qatar, who are looking to stage the 2022 competition.

Fifa are investigating "rumours" of an agreement between two countries bidding separately for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments to exchange votes, something explicitly forbidden by the regulations.

* Press Association