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ST. PETERSBURG, April 25. /TASS/. Russia’s authorities have shown a strong commitment as far as preparations for the 2018 FIFA World Cup go, FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura said in an exclusive interview with TASS First Deputy Director General Mikhail Gusman.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino has said on many occasions that Russia is able to carry out the best World Cup in history.
"I totally agree with him. If you would ask me why and I will tell you that first, it is because of a strong commitment from the authorities here," Samoura said. "From the 11 hosting cities, from the LOC, from the government, from FIFA. We have really good relationship. We want this to be the number one World Cup, because Russia is a great nation and also because Russia will be hosting one of the most beautiful games in the world," she pointed out. "It is right in the middle of the period of turbulence in the world, when… people are looking forward to have some kind of relief. And definitely, the World Cup and the Confederations Cup represent good ways to really have a piece of mind," the FIFA secretary general said.
"That is why I insist on saying for people really to come to Russia to see something really fascinating, to get to know people from Russia more, to get the flavor of the cultural, also diversity, and also to be warmly welcome," Samoura added. "I just cannot wait to be here in June again and to really get the test from the capacity of this LOC, but also of the host cities to stage the World Cup," she said.
There is hope that a compromise will be reached with Russian TV networks on the broadcasting rights for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Samoura believes.
"It is not a secret. We are in negotiations on a day-to-day basis," she said. "I am sure that we will find a compromise. There will be a middle ground set between the media and the TV sponsored in FIFA," Samoura added.
"We need these revenues because it means also that we will be able to fulfill our commitment toward funding the LOC budget. But it is not for us, it is for the benefit of the game," the FIFA secretary general said.
The 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup will take place from 17 June to 2 July. Group A will feature hosts Russia, as well as New Zealand, Portugal and Mexico. Group B will include Germany, Chile, Australia and Cameroon. Matches will be played in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi and Kazan.
The FIFA World Cup will be held between June 14 and July 15, 2018, in 11 Russian cities - Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Yekaterinburg, Samara, Sochi and Rostov-on-Don.