England’s 2018 bid team retracts complaint over Russian criticism of ‘boozy, crime-ridden’ London

ENGLAND have decided to turn the other cheek in the war of words with rival World Cup 2018 bidders Russia amid fears an escalating row could damage their chances.

Relations reached a new low this week when one of Russia’s top football figures, Viacheslav Koloskov, dismissed England as “absolutely primitive”. That barb was in response to an official English complaint about remarks made by Russian bid chief Alexei Sorokin, who depicted London as rife with crime and underage drinking.

But England last night withdrew that complaint, which is said to have annoyed world governing body Fifa, and decided against making another one about Koloskov, who is not part of Russia’s formal bid team and may therefore not be subject to punishment. Under Fifa guidelines, bidders are not permitted to comment on rival proposals.

Meanwhile, joint bidders Spain and Portugal yesterday denied suggestions they had tried to collude with 2022 hopefuls Qatar.

FAST FACTS | world cup 2018 bid

England and Russia are favourites to host the tournament, with Spain/Portugal and Holland/Belgium the other contenders

Fifa’s 24 executive committee members will vote for a preferred candidate on 2 December