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MOSCOW, July 16. /TASS/. An information and tourist Internet portal (Welcome2018.com) launched by Russia for the 2018 FIFA World Cup will help spectators to be up to date to all developing events of the global football tournament and will show them all tourist attractions of Russia, Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said on Thursday.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup information and tourist news portal welcome2018.com was prepared with the support of Russian news agency TASS and launched on Thursday at a news conference at the agency.
"The name Welcome2018.com stresses our willingness to invite everyone to Russia for the holiday of football, to the World Cup," Mutko said. "The portal will become the window to Russia both for foreign tourists and Russians."
"We hope that the portal will become the key communications channel for football fans regarding the presentation of Russia," the sports minister added.
TASS Director General Sergey Mikhailov said the portal would show the hospitability of Russia and would help to attract a record number of football fans to the country.
"Our task is to show the real Russia, which is glad to welcome its guests, to show the highest level of the [event’s] organization, which would be definitely displayed at the championship, and to open resources, which would attract the highest number of sports fans in the history of all sports events," Mikhailov said addressing a news conference with Mutko.
The launched information and tourist portal for the 2018 World Cup in Russia contains over 15,000 exclusive pictures of Russian cities as well as over 4,000 new verified interesting facts about the cities, selected to be the venues for the football championship’s matches in less than three years.
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.