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Stripping Russia of the World Cup would cause a "blast" that could exacerbate the Ukraine crisis, a former ambassador to the 2018 hosts has warned.

Fifa's controversial awarding of the 2018 and 2022 tournaments to Russia and Qatar respectively is the subject of twin corruption investigations in the US and Switzerland, leading to speculation there could be a re-vote.

But on the eve of the qualifying draw for the competition in St Petersburg, former British ambassador to Russia Sir Tony Brenton told the BBC that such a decision would "completely overthrow progress" with the conflict in Ukraine.

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