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FIFA reform chief defends Blatter

FIFA World Cup
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Russia President Vladimir Putin won't trim any of 11 World Cup venues

The formal handover of the FIFA World Cup from Brazil to Russia took place on Sunday ahead of the 2018 tournament.

MOSCOW -- Russian President Vladimir Putin has ruled out cutting any of the 11 host cities for the 2018 World Cup despite repeated recommendations from FIFA head Sepp Blatter.

Russia's tournament organisers were surprised when Blatter suggested at the World Cup in Brazil that two stadiums should be dropped for the 2018 tournament.

Blatter raised the issue again when he traveled to Russia earlier this month for a series of meetings with Putin and local World Cup organisers.

However, Putin told local media on Friday that the government discussed the issue and has "taken the decision not to reduce" the number of host cities.

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