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Moscow Luzhniki stadium likely to become Russian football hub — minister

October 19, 2016, 13:31 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The legendary Luzhniki stadium in Moscow was built in 1957

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MOSCOW, October 19. /TASS/. The legendary Luzhniki stadium in Moscow is likely to be turned into the main training camp for the national football team after the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said on Wednesday.

"We have reached an agreement with Moscow’s City Hall about the training camp in Luzhniki," said Mutko, who is also the president of the Russian Football Union (RFU). "The work on this issue will be finalized after the World Cup."

"It is also possible that the RFU headquarters will be relocated there as well since we already have such a project under discussion," he said. "It would be great, if Luzhniki became the center of (Russian) football."

Moscow offers two stadiums as venues for the global football championship, which will be held in less than two years, and they are the recently-built Otkritie-Arena, which opened on September 5, 2014, and Moscow’s famous Luzhniki Arena, which is intended to host the opening match, one of the semifinals and the final match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Refurbishment on the Luzhniki Arena was launched in 2013 and once the work will have been completed, the stadium will extend spectator capacity to over 81,000 seats.

This is the second grand reconstruction of the stadium, which was initially built in 1957.

Russia-Italy friendly football match

According to Mutko, the national football teams of Russia and Italy will hold a friendly football match in November of 2017.

"We have reached an agreement on one match and it will take place in November 2017," Mutko told journalists. "We are currently considering a possibility of playing this match in Italy."

"However, we also spoke about playing another (friendly) match here in Russia," Mutko said. "It is most likely that it could be played on the eve of the (2018 FIFA) World Cup."

The national teams around the globe are currently in the qualifying stage battling for the place in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, while Russia as the host nation has been already guaranteed the birth in the world’s main quadrennial football event.

Subjective mistakes in football refereeing

The Russian Football Union will be resolutely fighting against all subjective judging mistakes in the system of the national football’s refereeing.

"Let us calm down now," Mutko told journalists. "On the whole, the (football) refereeing in Russia is at the decent level. Our main task is to avoid subjective mistakes. We will be resolutely fighting against them."

"It is important to understand how the whole system functions," he said.

"We will include this issue on the agenda of the (RFU) Executive Committee’s session because people need to know how decisions are made," he added.

Two weeks ago Valentin Ivanov, the head of the RFU Referee and Inspection Department, resigned from his post.

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