MOSCOW, October 11 (Itar-Tass) — The first meeting of the FIFA – 2018 World Cup Russia local organising committee Board, the supreme body of interaction between the Russian Federation and the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). The agenda included issues of joint reparations for the 2018 World Cup. It also discussed the development of the Federal law on holding the 2018 FIFA World Cup in the Russian Federation.
“The process of creating the necessary legal basis for the 2018 World Cup events has been launched, the bill will be submitted to the State Duma in the first quarter of 2012. The Russian government confirms all the guarantees for the competitions it gave earlier,” RF Minister of Sports, Tourism and Youth Policy, Chairman of the organising committee Vitaly Mutko said at the meeting.
FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke welcomed the enthusiasm and desire for cooperation and high level of responsibility of the Russian organising committee. “We need to keep the pace of work for the time still available, I’m ready to pledge you the full support of FIFA,” Valcke said.
“We have started a real partnership with Russia for 2018. For some people it might seem too much in advance, but we’ve learned from South Africa and Brazil, that we need the time to prepare. There is lot of work and a lot of things to be done in Russia,” he noted.
“In these seven years, Russia will need the time to be ready for 2018. The support from the Government and the work of the LOC is amazing. We as FIFA are very happy with the level Russia has shown since they have been awarded the World Cup. We are obviously concentrating on Brazil in the coming months, but we will work closely together with the Russian LOC so that the next three years will be used very well,” Valcke said.
According to him, “For Russia it’s just the beginning of the work. For the World Cup, there is a level of requirements we have. Cities will not be automatically granted Host City status. What we are asking Russia is nothing more than we are asking Brazil or Qatar. If a city doesn’t fill the requirement, this city will not be qualified. For the Final for example, you need a stadium of at least 90,000 spectators.”
“The process for the World Cup is always the same: You have thousands of people travelling to the country from around the world and, as Russia is in Europe, you can be sure that the Europeans fans will be coming here in 2018. You need transport, accommodation, and need to make sure the fans can follow their teams. We have six years to do so. By starting so early, we are confident Russia will be on time. Now we have to work and make it happen,” Valcke said.
At present, 11 cities of Russia are bidding for hosting matches of the prestigious tournament. The RF Ministry of Sports and Tourism organised a seminar for their officials.
Russia announced its intent to bid for the FIFA World Cup in early 2009, and submitted its request to FIFA in time. Russia’s Prime Minister and former President Vladimir Putin has taken a keen interest in the bid and has gone so far as ordering Vitaly Mutko, the Minister of Sports, to “prepare a bid for Russia to hold the 2018 World Cup.” According to a report earlier submitted by Vitaly Mutko, who also served that time as President of the Russian Football Union (RFU), the country is ready to spend some $10 billion on the tournament. The bid committee also includes RFU CEO Alexei Sorokin and Alexander Djordjadze as the Director of Bid Planning and Operations. In October 2010, Russia formally pulled out of the race to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. On December 2, 2010 Russia was chosen as the host country for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Fourteen cities are included in the current proposal, which divides them into five different clusters: one in the north, centred on St. Petersburg, a central cluster, centred on Moscow, a southern cluster, centred on Sochi, and the Volga River cluster. Only one city beyond the Ural Mountains is cited, Yekaterinburg. The other cities are: Kaliningrad in the north cluster, Rostov-on-Don and Krasnodar in the south cluster and Yaroslavl, Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan, Saransk, Samara and Volgograd in the Volga River cluster. The country does not currently have a stadium with 80,000 capacity, but the bid calls for the expansion of Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, already a UEFA Elite stadium with a capacity of slightly over 78,000, to over 89,000 seats. Russia hopes to have five stadiums fit to host World Cup matches ready by 2013 – two in Moscow and one stadium each in St. Petersburg, Kazan and Sochi, which is due to host the 2014 Winter Olympics.