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MOSCOW, July 16. /TASS/. Russia’s budget spending allocated for the organization of the 2018 FIFA World Cup will remain unchanged in the course of the next three years, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said on Thursday.
"Considering the organization of the world championship, our government made a decision that the relevant [budget’s] provision would be safeguarded," Mutko told a news conference. "Nothing will be changed."
"Moreover, we have already optimized [the budget] a little bit," he said. "We have cut the budget spending by some 50 billion rubles [$878 million]."
"We have cut the number of planned hotels by 30 and managed to come to terms with UEFA to ease some of the requirements," Mutko said.
The Russian government announced in late May its decision to reduce an allocated budget for the organization of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia by 3.6 billion rubles from 664.1 to 660.5 billion rubles.
The total budget of 664.1 billion rubles for the organization of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia was announced in 2012.
In February Russia already introduced changes to the program of its preparations for the 2018 World Cup, in particular reducing the number of training sites for the upcoming global football championship and reducing seating capacity of two stadiums.
A relevant document was agreed upon with the Russian Sports Ministry as well as with the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA) and signed by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
The number of initially planned 48 pre-tournament training sites across Russia has been reduced to 37 and the seating capacity of two out of 12 total stadiums selected to host the 2018 World Cup matches has been slashed by some 22%.
Russia is currently in full swing preparations for the Preliminary Draw, which is the first major kick-off event ahead of the global tournament itself.
The draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Preliminary Competition will be held on July 25 in Russia’s second largest city of St. Petersburg with a total of 208 nations having signed up for the participation in the event.
It will be for the first time in the history of World Cups, when all national teams registered for the Preliminary Draw. Russia as the hosting nation automatically qualified for the championship and therefore is not taking part in the preliminary competition.
The first major kick-start event of the 2018 World Cup will be held at the historic Konstantinovsky Palace, a stronghold of Russia’s rich culture located on the Gulf of Finland’s stunning shoreline. It used to serve in the 18th century as one of the residences of Russia’s imperial family.
Russia won the bid to host the 2018 World Cup over 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.
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.