MOSCOW, April 8. /TASS/. Russian stadiums are ready for hosting next month the matches of the 2016 IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation) World Championship, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said on Friday.
The matches of the 2016 IIHF World Championship are scheduled to be held in the country’s capital of Moscow and in Russia’s second largest city of St. Petersburg between May 6 and 22. The games of the global ice hockey tournament will be hosted by the VTB Ice Palace in Moscow and the Yubileny Arena in St. Petersburg.
"Enormous work was done by the owners [of the stadium] and the Moscow authorities," Mutko, who paid an inspection visit to the VTB Ice Palace on Friday, told journalists. "
"We have witnessed the formation of the new sports cluster," he said. "The VTB Ice Palace and the Yubileny Arena are ready for hosting the matches of the ice hockey world championship."
"It feels you up with joy when such facilities emerge," he said. "The actual meaning of holding such tournaments is the heritage. I can say the same thing about St. Petersburg, where Yubileny underwent restoration."
"On the whole, I am very satisfied," Mutko said commenting on the readiness of two arenas for hosting international-level ice hockey matches.
Russia guarantees providing all of the required security measures at matches of the 2016 IIHF World Championship, Vitaly Mutko went on to say.
"Our law enforcement services have vast experience," Mutko, who paid an inspection visit to the VTB Ice Palace on Friday, told journalists. "We are not planning extreme security measures. Moscow police is very experienced and the games will be held under solid security conditions."
The minister, however, said that the tournament’s spectators would have to undergo enhanced security checks at the stadiums.
"Spectators should treat with understanding imposed security measures and there will be zones of high security inspections," he said. "Following the inspection in such zone, a spectator comes into the so-called ‘clean zone,’ where he or she must be sure of being in safety."
"Russia, just like many other countries, is in the list of terrorist organizations’ targets," Mutko said. "Unfortunately, we recently saw that sports events were the targets of terrorists. We have witnessed an attempt to attack Stade de France stadium, explosions at the Boston Marathon."
"That is why we are implementing all security requirements proposed by our colleagues," the Russian sports minister added.
A total of 16 national teams, qualified to play in the upcoming 2016 IIHF World Championship, were divided into two groups. The 12,000-seat VTB Ice Palace in Moscow will host the matches of Group A, which comprise the teams from Russia, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Latvia, Norway, Denmark and Kazakhstan.
The 6,000-seat Yubileny Arena will see the matches of Group B teams, which are from Canada, Finland, the United States, Slovakia, Belarus, France, Germany and Hungary.
During the knock-out stage the stadiums in Moscow and St. Petersburg will each host two matches of the quarterfinals round, while both semifinals, the match for the third place and the final are scheduled to be held at the VTB Ice Palace in Moscow.
This will be the 7th IIHF World Championship held in Russia as it was hosted by Moscow five times, namely in 1957, 1973, 1979, 1986 and 2007, and once by St. Petersburg in 2000.