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MOSCOW, March 17. /TASS/. Newly-elected President of FIFA Gianni Infantino held a meeting on Thursday in Switzerland’s Zurich with Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, who is also the president of the Russian Football Union (RFU), Russia’s governing body of football said in a statement on its website.
Zurich is hosting on Thursday and Friday a session of the FIFA Executive Committee, attended for the first time by Infantino in his new capacity of the president of the global governing body of football.
"The heads of [football] organizations discussed in detail the progress of Russia’s preparations to host the 2018 World Cup, having both agreed that all of the preparations work is in line with the scheduled program," the statement from the RFU said.
"Moreover, Vitaly Mutko and Gianni Infantino discussed basic directions in cooperation between FIFA and RFU as well as exchanged opinions on the current key issues in the world of football," the statement added.
Former UEFA Secretary General Infantino was one of the five candidates running for the FIFA presidency last month and on February 26 at the Extraordinary Congress in Zurich he was voted in the second ballot by the organization’s member associations to take charge of the world’s governing body of football.
Russia is currently in full-swing preparations for the global football championship after the country won the bid to host the 2018 World Cup at the FIFA Congress in Guatemala on December 4, 2010. The victory came following 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 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.
Last September, a total of 33 cities across Russia involving over 450,000 people were celebrating the 1,000-day countdown to the 2018 World Cup.