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MOSCOW, July 11. /ITAR-TASS/. President Vladimir Putin said athletes, coaches, referees and fans would be able to enter Russia without visas during the next World Cup to be hosted by Russia in 2018.
“Russia plans to take the FIFA World Cup a step further in some areas. For example, we passed a federal law establishing a special visa regime for foreigners who help organise the 2018 Championship, and enabling not only the official participants, such as the athletes, referees, coaches and others, but also the fans to visit Russia without visas right before and during the competition. The history of football championships has never seen anything like this before,” Putin told ITAR-TASS ahead of his Latin American tour beginning on Friday, July 11.
“In 2018, Russia will host this most popular global sporting event for the first time in its history,” the president said and promised that the authorities would “do everything possible to give the world an unforgettable football celebration and show genuine Russian hospitality”.
He recalled that “in February-March, we successfully hosted the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Sochi and know exactly what a challenge it is to organise such a huge event. We are analysing Brazil’s experience very carefully” and the relevant Russian ministries and agencies were in constant contact with their Brazilian colleagues.
“Representatives of several ministries and organisations, including the Ministry of Sports and the Russia-2018 Organising Committee, are in constant contact with Brazilian colleagues. They have already visited Brazil and I am sure they will go there again more than once,” he said.
Putin expressed confidence that the “the World Cup in Brazil will be a bright page in the history of football” and wished the Brazilian organisers “every success in completing it”.
The president said was trying to follow the World Cup Cup “as far as my work schedule allows”.
“The Latin American countries’ teams have put on a display of football that has real flare and talent. Unfortunately, our team did not leave the group, but, in my opinion, they tried their best,” he said.
At the invitation of Brazil and FIFA Presidents, Putin will visit the final match of the Championship to attend the ceremony of passing the baton from Brazil to Russia.