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Malta keeper Hogg reveals FIFA investigation into betting patterns

Malta keeper Andrew Hogg. Credit: PA

Malta goalkeeper Andrew Hogg has claimed a FIFA official visited their dressing room before a World Cup qualifier earlier this month to inform them of suspicious betting patterns.

The minnows played Lithuania in Vilnius on October 11 in England's group, losing the game 2-0 to two late goals.

Hogg said the Malta team were warned beforehand that an unusually large number of bets had been placed on the game - reported to be on Malta being defeated by two goals or more.

"It was strange and felt very uncomfortable as if we were being accused of cheating," Hogg told the Sun on Sunday.

"I knew I'd done absolutely nothing wrong and had no idea what they were talking about.

"In the event, there was nothing I could do about the goals. I made three or four good saves which show I was doing my best.

"I have absolutely nothing to hide."

Malta fell behind to a 76th-minute Fiodor Cernych goal before Arvydas Novikovas converted a penalty moments after Malta defender Jonathan Caruana was sent off by referee Jesus Gil Manzano in the 82nd minute.

FIFA is reported to have begun an investigation into the matter. No player or official is accused of any wrongdoing.

Russia and Qatar World Cups 'helping to clean the game'

Fifa vice-president Victor Montagliani has suggested football might still be blighted by corruption if Russia and Qatar had not been chosen to host the next two World Cups.

Russia will host the next tournament in 2018 and Qatar the 2022 event, with both nations winning the right in a controversial vote almost six years ago.

Russia will host the 2018 World Cup. Credit: PA

Since the December 2010 awarding, corruption has been exposed in the global game, with then-Fifa president Sepp Blatter among those now banned.

Montagliani, speaking at the Leaders in Sport conference in London, said: "If Russia and Qatar wouldn't have got these World Cups, would we be in this situation now with an opportunity to clean the game?

"I think that was the starting point and the tipping point for certain things to happen.

"If England and the US had got the World Cup, maybe we would've had status quo.

"I'm just wondering if the authorities that have stepped up their involvement in the game would've done that if the choices had been a bit different.

"Maybe the best thing that happened in football was Russia and Qatar."

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Putin: We won World Cup bid fairly

Vladimir Putin has insisted that the 2018 football World Cup will go ahead in his country, despite the launch of an investigation into alleged corruption during the bidding process.

Putin doesn't believe the decision to host the World Cup can be changed Credit: Reuters

The Russian president said England's failure to secure the tournament came about because the bid team did not exhibit its country's potential as a host.

Prosecutors in Switzerland are conducting an investigation into allegations of money laundering surrounding Fifa's handling of the 2010 bidding process which led to Russia being named hosts for 2018 and Qatar for 2022.

But Mr Putin said: "If anyone has evidence, let them present it. We won in a fair fight and we are going to host the World Cup. Any other decision we will consider unfair."

"Great Britain did not exhibit all their potential for what it needed to do to win the World Cup.

"We don't think we are guilty of anything. We fought for the bid fairly. We don't think the decision can be changed. Construction of the stadia has begun and the next World Cup is very soon."

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David Beckham's daughter given kit by England women

The kit given to David Beckham's three-year-old daughter Harper Seven. Credit: David Beckham Facebook

David Beckham's daughter Harper Seven received a personalised kit from the England women's football team ahead of their World Cup opener.

Proud dad David posted a picture of the shirt, shorts and socks on social media with a thank you message.

England face France in their first match of the competition tomorrow.

What an amazing gift from the Women's England Football Team team for Harper! Good luck to the team tomorrow in their first game against France.

– David Beckham

Beckham 'sickened' after Fifa misled him over World Cup bid

David Beckham has described Fifa's failings as "despicable, unacceptable and awful."

David Beckham was part of the England Fifa World Cup bid team with prince William in 2010. Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The former England captain said he was left with a "sick feeling" after being misled by Fifa executive committee members who pledged their support for the FA's bid to host the 2018 World Cup, which was eventually awarded to Russia.

Some of the things that we now know happened were despicable, unacceptable and awful for the game we love so much.

Whilst it has not been good to read some of the headlines surrounding our sport recently, I hope at last we are now moving in the right direction.

Football is not owned by a few individuals at the top, it belongs to the millions of people around the world who love this sport.

It is time for Fifa to change and we should all welcome it.

– David Beckham statement

Russia wants to use convict labour to build World Cup

Russian president Putin sits with FIFA president Sepp Blatter Credit: REUTERS/Mikhail Klimentyev

Russia intends to use prisoners to help build stadiums and infrastructure for the 2018 World Cup and bring costs down.

A bill drafted by a member of the ruling party, United Russia, with the backing of the country's prison service, would allow contractors to use convicts in their projects.

"It'll help in the sense that there will be the opportunity to acquire building materials for a lower price, lower than there is currently on the market," Alexander Khinshtein told The Associated Press.

The Russian government is currently under pressure for the event's projected cost of 640bn roubles (£8.2bn).

Under the plans, convicts would continue to live in prison, travelling to work each day. They would earn roughly £190 per month.

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