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Putin warns against turning Russia’s new football arenas into 'marketplaces'

June 07, 2018, 13:33 UTC+3

All infrastructure facilities will be returned to the Russian regions once the World Cup is over

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© Valeriy Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, June 7. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that new football stadiums, built across the country for the upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup, must not turn into marketplaces after the world championship is over.

"A lot will depend on the authorities of the regions," Putin said during his annual Q&A conference on Thursday. "Because the organizing committee (LOC-2018) will hand over all infrastructure facilities to regions once the World Cup is over."

"I would like to immediately address my colleagues in the regions to say that it is inadmissible to turn these sports facilities into some sort of marketplaces, which we saw emerge at sports facilities in Moscow in the 1990s," Putin said.

The president added that the Russian Football Union (RFU) should make sure to make the best use of the 2018 FIFA World Cup sports infrastructure heritage in Russia.

"We must keep holding there (at the stadiums) major interesting matches, which would lead to the necessity of forming new, interesting, strong and perspective teams," Putin said. "On top of everything, we need to see a new generation of footballers and athletes grow on our home-soil training infrastructure."

The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicks off next Thursday with the opening match in the Russian capital of Moscow between hosts Russia and the national team from Saudi Arabia.

Russia selected 11 host cities to be the venues for the matches of the 2018 World Cup and they are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.

The matches of the 2018 World Cup will be held between June 14 and July 15 at 12 stadiums located in the 11 mentioned above cities across Russia. Two of the stadiums are located in the Russian capital.

On December 1, 2017, the State Kremlin Palace in Moscow hosted the Final Draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which determined the group breakdown for the FIFA flagship event this year. A total of 32 national football squads were divided into eight groups with four teams in each. Hosts Russia were placed in Group A with teams from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Uruguay.

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