Russia steps in to host 2012 Olympic meeting

Russia will host a gathering of Olympics leaders from more than 200 countries next year after Britain pulled out because of financial problems.

The Association of National Olympic Committees said Tuesday its biannual assembly will be held in Moscow from April 10-18.

"ANOC expresses its most profound gratitude to the NOC of Russia for its solidarity and its decision to host such important events," the association said in a statement.

The ANOC meeting is traditionally held in the host city of the Summer Olympics a few months before the games. It coincides with meetings of the International Olympic Committee executive board and allows the host city to show off its readiness for the games.

But the British Olympic Association faces a budget shortfall of up to $16 million and withdrew from hosting the event in London.

Russia's offer to host the assembly again shows its rising influence and financial muscle in world sports and the Olympic movement.

Moscow stepped in to host the figure skating world championships this week after Japan pulled out following the earthquake and tsunami last month.

Russia is also expected to be a candidate if Japan's nuclear power crisis forces it to be replaced as host of the gymnastics world championships in October and World Cup volleyball events in November, which are qualifiers for the 2012 London Olympics.

Russia has also taken over events in other Olympic sports affected by political turmoil in the Middle East.

A women's World Cup fencing event was moved to Moscow at two weeks' notice in March when Tunisia pulled out. The capital city also will stage modern pentathlon's world championships in September instead of Egypt.

Russia also will host the 2013 Universiade, or World Student Games, in Kazan, the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, and soccer's World Cup in 2018.