MOSCOW, January 18. /TASS/. Media reports that Russia’s second-largest city of St. Petersburg could be deprived of the right to host matches of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup are untrue, Russian Sport Minister Vitaly Mutko told TASS on Monday
According to earlier media reports, FIFA could deny St. Petersburg the right of hosting the matches of the 2017 Confederations Cup at the Zenit Arena.
"This information is not true," Mutko, who is also the president of the Russian Football Union (RFU) and a member of the FIFA Executive Committee, said in an interview with TASS.
"I have just contacted the municipal authorities [of St. Petersburg] and pointed their attention to such media information," Mutko said. "This is an enormous active project and not everything is done within the frames of the deadline."
"An issue of relocating the tournament from St. Petersburg is not on the agenda," Mutko said. "There are issues concerning that transportation system concept and some other aspects. Either I or personally or the management of the Local Organizing Committee [LOC] will pay a visit there [to St. Petersburg] in the nearest future."
On October 20 last year, Sports Minister Mutko was appointed the head of a FIFA committee in charge of the organization of the Confederations Cups in 2017 and 2021.
The 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup will be held between June 17 and July 2 at four stadiums in Russia and they are Otkritie-Arena in Moscow, Zenit-Arena in St. Petersburg, Fisht in Sochi and Kazan-Arena in Kazan.
The currently under construction 69,000-seat capacity Zenit Arena is also one of the 12 stadiums in 11 cities across Russia to host the matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The estimated cost of the construction, which began in 2006, stands at 34.9 billion rubles (some $450 million).
Russia won the bid to host the 2018 World Cup at the FIFA Congress in Guatemala on December 4, 2010 in a tight race against the bid from England, the joint bid from Portugal and Spain and the joint bid on behalf of Belgium and the Netherlands.
The country later 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.