MOSCOW - Russia's head coach Fabio Capello incurred the wrath of Russian legislators after declining an invitation to a State Duma session on Monday that was discussing the 2018 World Cup finals.
The 68-year-old Italian, under fire already over his team's recent performances, was officially invited to attend the meeting in the lower house of Russia's legislature but turned it down, a decision not well received by some of Russia's lawmakers.
"If our team is not reaching a high level of performance then I think the deputies have the right to listen to the head coach," said the outspoken Russian nationalist politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky.
"He (Capello) should explain what is going on but he is completely ignoring us and this is not polite," the leader of the Liberal Democrat Party of Russia added.
"He could not give a damn about our thoughts. He will only do what he feels is necessary. Head coaches have been sacked in such circumstances."
Also read: Capello stays on as Russia coach
Russia failed to win a match at the World Cup last June and were eliminated at the group stage.
They are second in their qualifying group for the 2016 European championship, having beaten Liechtenstein 4-0 at home and drawn with Sweden 1-1 away. But they managed only a 1-1 draw at home to Moldova earlier this month.
World Cup 2018 organiser Alexey Sorokin told the State Duma that the match venues for the competition in Russia were now fixed with 12 stadiums scheduled to be used in 11 cities.
"It is unlikely there will be any alterations. To change any of the host cities would have a negative impact on the tournament, so therefore we are leaving everything as it is," local organising committee chief executive Sorokin said.
Matches will be played in two stadiums in Moscow as well as in St Petersburg, Samara, Saransk, Rostov on Don, Sochi, Kazan, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Nizhny Novgorod and Yekaterinburg. Ticket holders would enjoy free transport between cities, Sorokin said.The Duma session also heard that Russia would carry out an audit of the World Cup starting in December to check the budget was being used effectively.
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