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The statement urged European soccer's governing body UEFA to ally with the World League Forum, the European Clubs Association and FIFPro (the worldwide players union), to "firmly oppose and together stop this unilateral initiative from FIFA and the process which lacks of transparency and a proper consultation with the stakeholders".

Russian Federation 2018 FIFA World Cup media centres received 2,000 applications for accreditation from foreign and local journalists, the Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency's press service, said on Thursday.

But Infantino lavished praise on Russia's preparations and said the tournament was shaping up to be the best one yet. The Nigerian team had problems the night before the Confederations Cup in Brazil in 2013 and during the 2014 World Cup.

Olsson also said that FIFA's proposed Club World Cup prize money would "increase the financial and sporting gap" between clubs playing in his member's leagues.

Addressing regional governors attending the meeting via videolink, Putin said that the pressure of hosting such an event will continue to grow, adding: "The situation demands constant attention and your personal participation in organizing this work".

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Bigger stadiums for the 80-game tournament led to projected ticket revenue $1.3 billion higher than Morocco's forecast for venues which must all be built or renovated.

Nearly 90 percent of the tickets to the 2018 FIFA World Cup matches have been sold, chairman of the tournament's organizing committee Alexey Sorokin said Thursday.

However, he sounded a sterner note while talking about the Russian group's prospects once the tournament starts. "And most importantly, that they play the strong-willed, uncompromising soccer that the fans value and love".

Russian Federation hasn't gotten past the group stage at any tournament since it reached the semifinals of the 2008 European Championship.

But coach Stanislav Cherchesov's men have been hit by a string of injuries and are seen as one of the tournaments underdogs.


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