FIFA World Cup Russia
© Alexander Ryumin/TASS

The FIFA World Cup will be held on June 14-July 15

British reporters were given a direct instruction to churn out negative stories ahead of the FIFA World Cup scheduled to take place June 14-July 15, 2018, in Russia, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Friday.

"We learned that reporters from the United Kingdom - not just one media outlet, but a number of them - received, in the truest sense of the word, a state order to launch a smear campaign for holding the World Cup in Russia," she emphasized.

Zakharova noted that journalists were dissuaded from focusing on a search for stories, because "stories, topics and approaches had been already conjured up." "Talking points were developed and offered to the UK media to be used in their materials," she stated.

"Among these subjects and stories, I can name the following: Russia's alleged lack of the necessary infrastructure and conditions to hold the championship, the aggressive behavior of Russian fans, a lack of professionalism among local law enforcement officials and the inability to guarantee foreign tourists' safety. The Western media will be actively pumping out this story in the run-up to the World Cup in Russia," the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman vowed.

The FIFA World Cup will be held on June 14-July 15. Its matches will be held in Moscow, Kaliningrad, St. Petersburg, Volgograd, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, Saransk, Rostov-on-Don, Sochi and Yekaterinburg. Sochi will host matches between Portugal and Spain (Group B, June 15), Belgium and Panama (Group G, June 18), Germany and Sweden (Group F, June 23), Australia and Peru (Group C, June 26). Sochi, Gelendzhik, Anapa and Krasnodar have training grounds for national teams that will take part in the championship.