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Russian football officials to hold session next week on 2018 World Cup preparations

September 24, 2014, 14:40 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The session of the working group on preparations for the 2018 World Cup will be held on October 2
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FIFA President Sepp Blatter

FIFA President Sepp Blatter

© EPA/ANDREAS GEBERT

MOSCOW, September 24. /ITAR-TASS/. The Russian Football Union’s (RFU) working group tasked with the preparations for the 2018 World Cup, which will be hosted by Russia, will gather next week for its first session, RFU’s Technical Director Andrei Leksakov said on Wednesday.

“The session of the working group on preparations for the 2018 World Cup will be held on October 2,” Leksakov said. “Russian national team’s Head Coach Fabio Capello will take part in the session.”

Leksakov said that besides himself the working group also includes “RFU President Nikolai Tolstykh, RFU Secretary General Anatoly Vorobyov, RFU Sports Director Nikolai Pisarev, RFU president’s adviser on legal affairs Denis Rogachev and other specialists.”

RFU First Vice President Nikita Simonyan told ITAR-TASS that he intended to ask Capello to discuss at a session initiatives proposed earlier by RFU Sports Director Pisarev and RFU Secretary General Vorobyov.

According to Pisarev’s initiative, the Russian national football youth team needs forming a football club so that the young players would have permanent game practice in the run-up to the global football tournament.

Similar initiative was put forward by Vorobyov, but in regard to the national football squad. The RFU secretary general said that in order to show successful results at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the country could form a core team that would compete with Russian football clubs at the domestic championship and might be possibly named “Russia-2018.”

According to him, the proposed Russia-2018 team would consist of players, who play for the national team, and would be coached by Capello.

Commenting on Vorobyov’s initiative last week, Capello briefly said that it was a “beautiful, but utopian idea.”

The Russian national squad experienced a string of setbacks over the past decade failing to qualify for the 2006 World Cup in Germany and 2010 championship in South Africa to the great dismay of the Russian football fans.

Things changed, however, when Italian phenomenon Capello took over the team as the head coach and managed to help the Russian national squad to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

The team, however, failed to clear the first stage of the much-anticipated global tournament putting their coach in the center of stern criticism and raising serious concerns in the country about the team’s performance in the next World Cup, which would be hosted by Russia in 2018.

The country won the bid to host the 2018 World Cup almost four 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 FIFA President Sepp 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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