Russia gets backing for World Cup bid

MOSCOW - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin gave his government's approval to the Russian Soccer Federation's (RFU) bid for the 2018 World Cup.

"Prepare a formal request for a Russian bid to host the World Cup in 2018," Putin told RFU chief Vitaly Mutko on Tuesday. "It must be a very serious bid that is backed by the government."

FIFA said in March that 13 countries had expressed an interest in hosting the 2018 or 2022 World Cups. The hosts for both events will be chosen in December next year.