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FIFA chief Infantino lauds Russia’s preparations for hosting international Cups

May 11, 16:44 UTC+3 MANAMA

Russia is currently in full-swing preparations for the global football tournaments

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© EPA/AHMED ALFARDAN

MANAMA, May 11. /TASS/. Russia is ready for hosting the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup this summer and will be definitely well-prepared to welcome the 2018 FIFA World Cup next year, Gianni Infantino, the president of the world’s governing body of football, said on Thursday.

"Everything is ready for the Confederations Cup. Everything will be ready for the World Cup. It is not yet ready of course," FIFA President Infantino said addressing a news conference after the 67th FIFA Congress in Bahrain’s Manama.

The FIFA Confederations Cup, which is also viewed by experts as a rehearsal a year prior to the FIFA World Cup, will be held between June 17 and July 2 at four stadiums in Russia and they are Spartak Stadium in Moscow, St. Petersburg Stadium, Fisht Stadium in Sochi and Kazan Arena in Kazan.

"I am long enough in this business to know that until the kick-off and until the ball starts rolling there are discussions and debates whether are we ready or we are not ready," he said. "We will never be completely ready until the last minute. We are never completely satisfied either."

"I am a detailed maniac myself. We certainly do not have just to sit down and rest and say everything is perfect," he said. "There is still a lot of work to do.

"But we are on schedule," Infantino said. "What I feel and what I can see in Russia compared to European championships that I have been organizing together with UEFA since 2004, is that such a commitment from the government, like I have seen in Russia, I have never seen in any other country."

"There is a commitment to do the things and things are done," he said. "We all well know - but it is not only a Russian thing, but the thing for all over the world - that bureaucracy sometimes takes a bit of time and there are always hurdles that you did not foresee before."

"When it comes to the question of hooliganism, stadiums, transport and so on… there are important decisions taken by the (Russian) government with visa-free entry," Infantino stated. "This is kind of unique for Russia."

The Russian government made a decision to issue the so-called fan-IDs ahead of the matches of the 2017 and 2018 FIFA Cups. The fan-ID will play an important role in the provision of security during the major football tournaments in Russia as they would be granting admittance to the stadiums and would also serve as visas for foreign visitors.

A holder of the fan-ID will be allowed to enter the country without having a Russian visa and stay for the duration of the global football tournament as well as for the period of ten days before and after the championship.

"I am sure that we will experience the great Confederations Cup this summer and the great World Cup next summer, and it will be a celebration of football," FIFA chief Infantino said. "You will be surprised of the people in Russia…, who really want to show to the world that they are committed to football."

"I am sure that everyone going to Russia - will enjoy Russia, will enjoy football. In summer in Russia it is not cold, it is actually quite warm," the FIFA president added.

Russia is currently in full-swing preparations for the global football tournaments after the country clinched the bid, following the final vote held in Guatemala on December 4, 2010 at the FIFA Congress. The victory came following a tight race against the bids from England, Portugal and Spain, in addition to a joint bid on behalf of Belgium and the Netherlands.

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 above-mentioned cities across Russia. Two of the stadiums are located in the Russian capital of Moscow.

2017 FIFA Confederations Cup

Participants in the 2017 Confederations Cup are hosts Russia, 2014 FIFA World Cup Champions Germany, 2015 Copa America Champions Chile, 2015 AFC Asian Cup Champion Australia, 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup winners Mexico, 2016 UEFA Euro Cup champs Portugal, OFC (Oceania Football Confederation) Nations Cup victors New Zealand and 2017 CAF Africa Cup of Nations Champion Cameroon.

The Draw for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup was held on November 26, 2016 in the Russian city of Kazan. Following the event, hosts Russia was placed in Group A alongside with Portugal, Mexico and New Zealand. Group B has brought together Germany, Chile, Australia and Cameroon.

The opening game will be held in St. Petersburg on June 17 between Russia and New Zealand. Russia will face Portugal in Moscow on June 21 and on June 24 it will play Mexico in Kazan.

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