For all the Russia 2018 draw razzmatazz, shadow cast by Olympics takes off gloss | Martha Kelner

Moscow stages the World Cup draw on Friday but Russia’s systematic doping at Sochi 2014 and beyond has eroded what should be football’s crowning glory

The darkness will be thick and the temperature below freezing in Moscow when the first ball is drawn but the historic snow?dappled domes of St Basil’s Cathedral remain visible from the Kremlin palace even at night.

As a setting for the World Cup draw it is a perfect showcase, the imposing buildings of the fortified complex and Red Square totemic of Russian power and influence. There are Christmas lights, an ice skating rink and hot sausage stalls in the shadow of one of the most uncompromising political regimes of the modern era.

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