MOSCOW, July 29. /TASS/. A delegation from the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) is expected to early in September make a fourth planned inspection visit to Russia to evaluate its preparations to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Alexei Sorokin, the director general of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) Russia-2018, said on Friday.
The first visit of FIFA inspectors came in October 2014, a second - in September 2015. In April 2016, FIFA experts visited Russia once again.
This time FIFA and LOC experts will visit sports facilities in St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad, Rostov-on-Don, Saransk and Moscow. According to Sorokin, a next visit is expected to clarify the situation around the construction of a stadium in St. Petersburg.
"On the whole, it will become clear within the next two months either the situation is improving or not. We have ‘plan B’ for the second case, but it is now early to discuss it, as we still tend to believe the guarantees the city gave us," Sorokin said.
The stadium’s general contractor, Inzhtransstroy-SPb, announced on Tuesday it had fully stopped works at the construction site due to the contract severance with the St. Petersburg administration as the customer. The company has said on many occasions that the contract termination may disrupt the schedule of commissioning the stadium.
The construction of the Zenit Arena in St. Petersburg intended to host football matches of both the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2018 World Cup has been marred by numerous delays and rising costs as well as by tense relations between the city authorities as the customer and the stadium’s general contractor, Inzhtransstroy-SPb.
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 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.