MOSCOW, June 1. /TASS/. The currently under construction football stadiums in Russia’s second largest city of St. Petersburg will undoubtedly host the matches of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, FIFA President Gianni Infantino told journalists on Wednesday.
"The Confederations Cup opening match and final match will take place in St. Petersburg. No doubt," Infantino, who is currently paying an official visit to Russia, said. "No doubt, because we have received all the necessary guarantees from the authorities."
"This is an important event and the image of St. Petersburg will be broadcast and shown all over the world so the authorities know about the impact of this," the FIFA president added.
Last week FIFA’s Director of Competitions Colin Smith and members of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) Russia-2018 paid inspection visits to the construction sites of stadiums in St. Petersburg and Kaliningrad. Following the visit, FIFA expressed its concern regarding a number of aspects in the construction process.
Infantino, who is in Moscow to launch on Wednesday the 2017 Confederations Cup and 2018 World Cup Volunteers Recruitment program, said organizational issues always arise in preparations of the tournaments of such scale.
"This is my first World Cup, but in terms of organizing the European championships I participated in the organization of four of them so I know there are always issues to sort out," Infantino, who worked in UEFA since 2000 and served as the union’s secretary general from 2009 until elected FIFA president this year, said.
"Of course there is still a lot to be done but we are very confident that everything will be ready," the FIFA president added.
The popularity of the FIFA Confederations Cup, to be hosted by Russia in 2017, will start growing among the Russians because the national team will be participating in the tournament, he said.
"With one year time people will start to know the Confederations Cup," Infantino said. "Of course everyone is focusing on the World Cup. Russia did bid for the World Cup not for the Confederations Cup."
"The World Cup is the biggest event, but the Confederations Cup is a very important event," he said. "After the World Cup it is the second most important event that FIFA is organizing for the national teams."
"Maybe the reason why the Russian population does not know much about the Confederations Cup because Russia did not participate until now in the Confederations Cup," Infantino added.
The new 69,000-seat capacity football arena, constructed in the western part of the Krestovsky Island in St. Petersburg, was selected to host the matches of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup. It is also one of the 12 stadiums in 11 cities across Russia to host the matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
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.
Five nations have already qualified for the 2017 Confederations Cup and they are hosts Russia, 2014 FIFA World Cup Champions Germany, 2015 Copa America Champions Chile, 2015 AFC Asian Cup Champion Australia and 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup winners Mexico.
Three more nations will be determined following the 2016 UEFA Euro Cup, the OFC (Oceania Football Confederation) Nations Cup and 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.
The Draw for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup will be held on November 26 in the city of Kazan. Ticket sales expected to be launched in early December with an expected amount of some 680,000 tickets to be up for grabs.