MOSCOW, June 13. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has thanked FIFA and the international football community for assistance in arranging the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Speaking at the FIFA Congress in Moscow on Wednesday ahead of the World Cup opening, the Russian leader noted that preparations for such an illustrious sports event were a matter of interest not only for the host country but also for "specialists and enthusiasts from the entire global football family."
"It is good that this family has a remarkable tradition - to gather ahead of the World Cup in the city of the opening match and this gives us as the organizing country the possibility to thank you and all your colleagues for the support and assistance both in words and deeds over the past seven years that Russia has been preparing for one of the most popular and landmark events in world sports," Putin said.
Further addressing the congress’s participants, the Russian president stressed, "we have travelled together with you as one big team" down the entire road of preparing for the World Cup.
"We have given all our strength to ensure that this major football tournament takes place at the highest level and marks an unforgettable chapter in the life of everyone who becomes its participant - be it a devoted fan at the stadium or a TV viewer," Putin added.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicks off on Thursday with the opening match in the Russian capital of Moscow between hosts Russia and 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.