12:13 GMT30 May 2020
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    FIFA President Sepp Blatter urged the European parliament to end "political interference" in sporting matters.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — FIFA President Sepp Blatter has defied calls to boycott the upcoming 2018 World Cup in Russia amid the Ukraine crisis, saying football may help stabilize the region, the Guardian reported.

    Speaking in the Swiss city of Zurich on Friday, the FIFA president said that a sporting tournament in Russia "will be able to stabilise all the situation in this region of Europe that is suffering now," according to the British daily.

    "I am sure that football is stronger than any other movement," Blatter said. He also urged the European parliament to end "political interference" in sporting matters.

    This came after Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko urged allied nations to boycott a World Cup in Russia in three years' time over Moscow's alleged involvement in hostilities that have rocked his country's southeastern region.

    Members of the European parliament have been making turns this month advising EU nations to sever their contacts with the Kremlin.

    On Friday, Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic asked Eduard Kukan, the head of the European parliament's delegation to Belgrade, to refrain from giving people "unasked-for advice" after Kukan suggested that the president should not go to Moscow on May 9 to take part in the WWII Victory Parade.


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