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Putin rules out cutting any of the venues for 2018 World Cup despite FIFA recommendation

Russia Putin-1.jpg

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with participants in the youth educational forum at the Seliger youth camp near Lake Seliger, some 450 kilometres (281 miles) northwest of Moscow, in Tver region, Russia, Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Mikhail Klimentyev, Presidential Press Service) (The Associated Press)

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 organizers 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 organizers.

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

Asked whether Russia could be stripped of the hosting rights amid a dispute with UEFA over the status of football clubs in Crimea, Putin simply said: "I hope not."

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