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FIFA president Gianni Infantino praises Russia for Confederations Cup

Russia has been praised by FIFA president Gianni Infantino for its hosting of the Confederations Cup ahead of next summer's World Cup.

Infantino told a news conference at the St. Petersburg Stadium that "everything ran perfectly" in the tournament, which concludes when Germany and Chile contest the final on Sunday.

"We were hearing about violence, about incidents, about hooligans, about racism -- but we had nothing," he said, referring to pre-tournament fears.

However, the shadow cast on Russian sport by a series of World Anti-Doping Agency investigation reports since 2015 also re-emerged.

FIFA is aware of 155 potentially suspect samples given by players in Russia that need to be tested, WADA-appointed investigator Richard McLaren has told German broadcaster ARD.

Infantino, who appeared with Russian deputy prime minister Vitaly Mutko, said he could not set a timetable for Russian cases that the FIFA disciplinary committee must handle arising from McLaren reports.

However, key judgments are looming and could be announced within weeks.

An International Olympic Committee panel is preparing to announce its first verdicts involving Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Games who are suspected of benefiting from a state-backed doping conspiracy operating at the Olympic laboratory in Sochi.

"We are waiting as well for these reports," Infantino said.

Although the IOC panel will look only at Sochi Olympic cases, its rulings will help define the integrity of McLaren's evidence and witnesses that Russian officials have repeatedly sought to discredit.

"If something comes out about [football players'] samples having been tampered or whatever, then there will be sanctions obviously," Infantino said.

Mutko, who chairs the 2018 World Cup organising committee and was linked in McLaren evidence to covering up one football doping case, again dismissed claims of a government-run programme.

"If I perform a Russian dance here in front of you, will you stop asking these questions or not?"

He had earlier said Russia "will never let down" FIFA.


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