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Russian sports minister confirms list of 2018 World Cup’s hosting cities

August 20, 2014, 19:43 UTC+3 SARANSK

Mutko also said that at least four matches of the 2018 World Cup will be held in Saransk, which is listed among the 11 hosting cities

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SARANSK, August 20. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko reiterated on Wednesday that all earlier announced 11 Russian cities will be hosting the 2018 World Cup, while 20 more cities will be also housing the national teams arriving in Russia in four years for the much-anticipated global football event.

“The concept of the championship has not been changed and all earlier announced 11 cities will be hosting the matches as it was initially planned,” Mutko, who is currently visiting the city of Saransk in Russia’s republic of Mordovia, told journalists.

“Twenty more cities will have the right of housing the accommodating bases for the [participating] teams,” he added.

Mutko also said that at least four matches of the 2018 World Cup will be held in Saransk, which is listed among the 11 hosting cities.

“We plan to invest at least 32 billion rubles [over $882 million] from the federal budget into [Mordovia] republic’s infrastructure,” Mutko said adding that “the championship must be held at the highest level possible.”

On the whole, the official said “the republic has done a lot but there is more to be done by 2018.”

“The important issues remain in the spheres of security and transportation as well as in the preparations of people in the service sphere and volunteers movement,” the top Russian sports official said.

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.

Shortly before Brazil’s fabulous city of Rio de Janeiro dropped the curtains on the 2014 World Cup with the final Germany-Argentina clash on July 13, the baton of the global football tournament’s hosting nations was passed on to Russia.

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 FIFA President Sepp Blatter, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Blatter said earlier that he intended to pay a visit to Russia in September to monitor the preparation work for the championship in 2018.

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.

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