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MOSCOW, January 30. /TASS/. Russia will step up efforts on promoting the 2018 FIFA World Cup, including in providing hospitality packages, Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Organizing Committee "Russia-2018" Vitaly Mutko told TASS on Monday.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicks off in 500 days on June 14, 2018.
"500 days is plenty of time, but on the other hand, we are already counting these days," Mutko said. "A lot more needs to be done: stadiums and football fields, bases for hosting the teams and transport logistics," said Mutko, who is also the president of the Russian Football Union (RFU).
Russia needs to intensify efforts on promoting the project with colleagues from the world’s football governing body FIFA, he said. "We offer many new hospitality-related products - visa-free entry, free travel between cities and in cities, there will be many possibilities that the other championships did not have. Time is coming when there is the need to attract more fans and citizens of regions," Mutko said.
"An unprecedented volunteer program will be launched: there are more than 180,000 applications for 20,000 jobs. In general, everyone is working as a team, there is good understanding between regional and federal authorities and the public. I’m sure that we will cope with this task and hold the championship at the highest level as Russia can do it well," he added.
Mutko stressed that this is a "major and serious project for the country and its tasks are of great importance." "First of all, this concerns the development of cities and infrastructure: we are modernizing airports, hotels and hospitals and will buy many train carriages, tramways and trolley buses."
The Russian authorities will also make efforts to attract more people to sports. "The best teams of the world will play at the World Cup and certainly, this is a kind of a guideline for boys and girls, who would like to devote themselves to football."
"Third, we want to show Russia: we don’t have only Moscow and St. Petersburg. For example, until 1991 Nizhny Novgorod was closed (for visits of foreigners - TASS). We want to show the country’s possibilities: we are a hospitable and safe country with the richest culture and traditions. For us, this project is very and very important," Mutko said.
Russia 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 above-mentioned cities across Russia. Two of the stadiums are located in the Russian capital of Moscow.