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Spain’s Puyol says volunteers to be hallmark of 2017, 2018 FIFA tournaments in Russia

February 28, 20:52 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Famous Spanish footballer Carles Puyol believes that Russia will provide an up-to-date organization of the upcoming FIFA’s 2017 and 2018 football tournaments

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Carles Puyol

Carles Puyol

© EPA/ANATOLY MALTSEV

MOSCOW, February 28. /TASS/. Famous Spanish footballer Carles Puyol, who is the 2008 Euro Cup winner and the 2010 World Cup champion, said on Tuesday that volunteers in Russia would be a visiting card of the upcoming 2017 and 2018 FIFA tournaments.

"Volunteers play the key role at the World Cups and the whole organization depends on them," Puyol, who attended today the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2018 FIFA World Cup volunteers’ center at Moscow’s MGIMO University, said.

The 38-year-old former midfielder arrived in Russia on Monday, visiting the newly-built football arena in Russia’s second-largest city of St. Petersburg, where he joined a delegation from FIFA and the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) Russia-2018.

"Each time football fans of national teams arrive (at the hosting country), the first thing they see is them (volunteers)," the Spanish ex-footballer said. "I believe that Russia organized a very successful volunteer program… and I am sure that everything will be perfect."

Last month, FIFA announced in its statement that a program of recruiting volunteers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia has set a new record in the volunteer movement of the world’s governing body of football with some 177,000 applications submitted by the deadline.

"The extreme popularity of the volunteer movement rests on their (volunteers’) desire to show the best of Russia for all football fans," Puyol said.

Last June, Puyol was in Moscow attending the launch of the 2018 World Cup and the 2017 Confederations Cup Volunteer Recruitment campaign at a solemn ceremony in the Russian capital alongside with Russian President Vladimir Putin and FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

According to last month’s statement from FIFA, a quarter of all submitted applications were submitted from outside of Russia, a fact that showed great interest of foreign volunteers to become a part of the 2017 and 2018 FIFA Cups.

Puyol said he strongly believed that Russia would provide an up-to-date organization of the upcoming FIFA’s 2017 and 2018 football tournaments.

"Many consider the Confederations Cup as a preparations event ahead of the World Cup, but this tournament is very important," Puyol, who attended today the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2018 FIFA World Cup volunteers’ center at Moscow’s MGIMO University, said. "I am positive that this tournament would be held at the highest possible level."

The 38-year-old former midfielder arrived in Russia on Monday, visiting the newly-built football arena in Russia’s second-largest city of St. Petersburg, where he joined a delegation from FIFA and the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) Russia-2018.

"The following World Cup will be a big celebration of football," Puyol said. "I hope that the Spanish team would pass through the qualifiers to come to Russia."

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