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Russia’s 2018 World Cup stadiums, infrastructure to be ready in time — FIFA official

April 07, 2016, 18:32 UTC+3 VOLGOGRAD
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VOLGOGRAD, April 7. /TASS/. FIFA inspectors have no doubts that all sports facilities and accompanying infrastructure, constructed to host the matches and guests of the 2018 World Cup, will be commissioned in Russia in time, a FIFA official said on Thursday.

A delegation from the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) is currently on its third planned inspection visit to Russia to evaluate the country’s preparations to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup. On Thursday, FIFA inspectors visited Volgograd, one of Russia’s 11 cities selected to host the matches of the much-anticipated global football tournament.

Christian Unger, the head of FIFA 2018 football championship preparation department, told journalists after the inspection of the currently under-construction stadium in Volgograd he was glad to see for himself how the construction of not only the arena, but the whole accompanying infrastructure as well, had been progressing.

He said FIFA inspectors had the chance to see how the offered plans were implemented in practice and they were confident that all facilities in Volgograd and in the rest of the Russian regions would be commissioned in time.

The new 45,000-seats capacity Pobeda (Victory) Arena for the 2018 World Cup will be constructed on the site of the current Central Stadium, which was built in 1962 and is home for Rotor Volgograd FC. The dismantling of the Central Stadium was launched in mid-October and the estimated construction cost of the new arena stands at $420 million.

Volgograd, formerly known as Stalingrad, is a city of over one million population stretching alongside the Volga River. The city and the surrounding areas were the scene of the heaviest battles of World War II and the Battle of Stalingrad is considered to be the turning point in the war.

An area of over 20 hectares (almost 50 acres) was allocated for the construction of the new stadium and parking sites almost in the heart of the city, while the Pobeda Arena itself will be occupying an area of some 124,000 square meters (30.6 acres).

The current ten-day inspection visit of FIFA delegates kicked off on Monday in St. Petersburg. Besides Russia’s second largest city of St. Petersburg and Volgograd, the delegation is scheduled to visit before April 14 the cities of Nizhny Novgorod, Volgograd, Samara, Yekaterinburg and Sochi.

While visiting the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, the delegation will be provided with a virtual tour of the rest of the cities selected to host the 2018 World Cup matches, which are Kazan, Kaliningrad, Moscow, Rostov-on-Don and Saransk.

The delegation is headed by Alexei Sorokin, the director general of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) Russia-2018, and also includes among others FIFA Competitions Director Colin Smith and Christian Unger, the head of FIFA 2018 football championship preparation department.

During the previous two visits, the FIFA delegates closely inspected Russia’s construction process of the stadiums and accompanying infrastructure for the upcoming world championship. This time FIFA inspectors plan to focus on the discussions how work of all involved services at stadiums would be organized and coordinated during the football matches of the 2018 World Cup.

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 of Moscow.

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.

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