MOSCOW: Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko has said that the country will not make any further cuts to its budget for the 2018 World Cup despite slashing spending on preparations for next year’s Ice Hockey World Championship by 30pc.

According to the TASS news agency, the Russian Sports Ministry has been forced to make cuts to the national team ice hockey tournament due to an economic slump that is placing pressure on the government’s budget.

The 2016 ice hockey event is due to take place in Moscow and Saint Petersburg from May 6-22, the seventh time that Russia will have staged the competition.

In response to a request from the Russian Finance Ministry, Yulia Lenda, director of the Sports Ministry’s budget, said that it would cut its budget for the event by around $1.4m.

Lenda said that the Sports Ministry would divert money from planned spending on the Russian Olympic team ahead of the summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, next year, to support the shortfall.

“Whatever happens, we will hold the hockey championship, but we will have to cut spending on preparations [for the Olympics],” Lenda told the Interfax news agency.

Mutko remained adamant that no more cuts will be made to spending on preparations for the country’s hosting of the 2018 World Cup.

He told TASS: “The budget is final – it’s protected. We’re not going to make any more cuts.”