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Russia defends plan to house World Cup teams in Chechnya

MOSCOW -- World Cup organisers in Russia have defended the possibility of housing teams in 2018 in the volatile North Caucasus regions, including Chechnya.

The Chechen capital of Grozny is on a preliminary list of team bases for the tournament despite an incident in December when Islamist militants waged a gun battle with police that left at least 20 dead.

Another possible city is Makhachkala in the neighboring region of Dagestan, which also has a long-running Islamist insurgency. In recent years,...

Russia launches search for 2018 World Cup mascot

Russia has launched a competition to design the mascot for its 2018 World Cup.

MOSCOW -- Russia has launched a competition to design the mascot for its 2018 World Cup.

For the next 31 days, would-be designers will be able to submit ideas and names for the mascot through a new Russian-language section of the FIFA website.

There will be "no limits on a flight of fancy," and the campaign is targeted specifically at Russian children, World Cup organizing committee CEO...

Russia to force out foreign players ahead of World Cup

The Russian government will bring in tough restrictions on the number of foreign players in its Premier League.

MOSCOW -- The Russian government will bring in tough restrictions on the number of foreign players in the country's top football league in order to develop home-grown players for the 2018 World Cup.

With his ministry poised to gain new powers to limit the number of foreigners in the Russian Premier League, Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko says he will "cut back...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Blatter: Nothing will stop Russia, Putin from hosting best World Cup in 2018

FIFA presidential candidate Michael van Praag is unsure about the promises by current FIFA president Sepp Blatter.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter promised CONCACAF they 'should' have four places at the World Cup.
FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke has relayed his confidence in the Russian organising committee to deliver the 2018 World Cup amid concerns over their preparations.

Sepp Blatter believes Russia can host the best World Cup in history in 2018 ahead of a meeting with Russian president Vladamir Putin.

FIFA president Blatter met Putin on a visit to Sochi -- site of the 2014 Winter Olympics and one of the host venues for the 2018 tournament -- on Monday, and declared his pride in Russia's preparations beforehand.

"I am a happy and proud president. I am proud that Russia is getting ready to host the World Cup," Blatter said in quotes picked up by Reuters.

"A lot of...