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(CNN) -- Russia's prime minister Vladimir Putin will not going to Zurich to help his country win the 2018 World Cup and has complained of "unfair competition" in the bidding process.
Putin was expected to go to the Swiss city to put the case for Russia, but is sending his deputy Igor Shuvalov in his place.
The Russian bid has gathered pace in the buildup to Thursday's vote to decide the hosts for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
Putin was expected to join other political heavyweights like former U.S. president Bill Clinton and British prime minister David Cameron in last-minute lobbying of FIFA executive members.
But in a speech broadcast on Russian television, Putin confirmed he would stay at home and also appeared to criticize corruption allegations made against executive members by British media organizations.
"I would like to note that recently we have watched with disappointment as an obvious campaign was being unleashed against members of the FIFA executive committee," he said.
"They are being dragged through the mud and compromised. I interpret this as unfair competition. We believe that such methods of competition are entirely unacceptable.
"Under these circumstances, I think it would be best not to go out of respect for the members of the FIFA executive committee, so that they could make their decision in peace and without any outside pressure."
The former Russian president said he had spoken with FIFA president Sepp Blatter on the telephone and put the case for his country to host the World Cup for the first time.
"The world football championship has never been held either in Russia, or anywhere else in eastern Europe," he said.
"Russia has both the will and the capabilities, including financial, to organize this major sport event."
Russia is competing against England and joint bids from Spain and Portugal and Netherlands and Belgium for the right to host in 2018.
Australia, Japan, South Korea,Qatar and the United States are battling it out for the 2022 rights.
The 22-man FIFA executive committee will make its decisions on Thursday.