RIO DE JANEIRO, July 14, /ITAR-TASS/. Shortly before the 2014 World Cup concluded on Sunday night in Brazil’s fabulous city of Rio de Janeiro, the baton of the global football tournament’s hosting nations was passed on to Russia, where the next world tournament will be held in 2018.
The symbolic hand-over ceremony of the right to host the World Cup tournament was held at the iconic over 74,700-seat capacity Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro and was attended by Sepp Blatter, the president of the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA), Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Blatter presented both the Russian and Brazilian leaders with the officially signed certificates marking the hand-over of the World Cup from Brazil to Russia, the official FIFA website reported. Rousseff and Putin also received official World Cup footballs and signed them.
“FIFA’s World Cup in Brazil had a very special message to give - a message of togetherness and of connecting people, a message of peace and of anti-discrimination,” the website quoted Blatter as saying. “We have enjoyed a successful World Cup and we will have a legacy in this country.”
The president of Brazil, where the World Cup was previously held in 1950, thanked Blatter saying “Brazil is very proud for once again having staged the biggest football celebration in the world.”
“In the last 30 days the world has been connected to Brazil, celebrating goals with a lot of emotion in the 12 host cities and making this the World Cup of World Cups,” President Rousseff said. “I am sure that everyone who came to Brazil, like tourists and delegations, will take back memories of our hospitality and joy, and we Brazilians also have unforgettable memories.”
Speaking about the next World Cup in Russia, FIFA President Blatter said: “At the same time there is a responsibility for the next host country and I’m confident that Russia will take on this responsibility and also give us a wonderful World Cup to remember in 2018.”
Before thanking FIFA for the honor to host the next World Cup, Russian President Putin praised the level of the organization of the championship in Brazil saying “I want to congratulate President Rousseff on how the World Cup was organized.”
“Football helps to solve social problems,” Putin said. “Our task is to create the best possible conditions for the coaches, players, experts and fans. I am grateful to President Blatter and his colleagues from FIFA for the honor to organize the World Cup.”
“We will do all we can to organize the event on the highest level,” he added.
Blatter said earlier that he intended to pay a visit to Russia in September to monitor the preparation work for the championship in 2018.
Russia won the bid to host the 2018 World Cup over three years ago in a tight race against the joint bid from England, Portugal and Spain and the joint bid on behalf of Belgium and the Netherlands.
Following an official ceremony held in September 2012 and attended by Blatter, Russia eventually selected 11 out of the earlier proposed 13 cities, excluding Krasnodar and Yaroslavl. The final list of the 2018 World Cup host cities includes Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.