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Fifa

Fifa to select World Cup sites for 2018 and 2022

Reuters

The wait is on as the world's governing football body, Fifa, votes Thursday to decide who will host World Cup tournaments in 2018 and 2022. The 22 Fifa members will vote at 1300 UT after one of the most controversial bidding wars in the federation's history.

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England, Russia, Spain/Portugal could clinch the 2018 host spot, while Netherlands/Belgium is deemed to be the outsider in the race.

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England and Russia have been at loggerheads for the spot, which could bring lucrative contracts and increased revenue for the host. Politics has had a hand in the lobbying, as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday that the decision should not be subject to "intrigue and blackmail".

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin accused England of waging a smear campaign against Russia.

"They are beign smeared in dirt and compromised [...] I interpret this as unfair competition," Putin said in televised remarks on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Prince William and UK football icon David Beckham are pushing for the England bid.

For the 2022 tournament, Australia, United States, Qatar, South Korea and Japan have pitched their bids.

Fifa President Sepp Blatter admits that holding two votes at the same time encouraged illegal bid manipulation.

Follow the announcement live on France 24 TV - 4pm Paris time, 1500 UT.

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