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MOSCOW, May 18. /TASS/. Over 1,500 people will take part in the official opening ceremony of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in the country’s second-largest city of St. Petersburg next month, the world’s governing football body announced in its statement on Thursday.
According to FIFA, the 20-minute opening ceremony will be held accompanied by a calssi melody of Russian composer Igor Stravinsky.
"There is less than one month to go until Russia face New Zealand in the Opening Match of the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 at the Saint Petersburg Stadium," the statement from FIFA said.
"But before a ball is kicked across its surface on 17 June, Igor Stravinsky’s ‘The Firebird’ will sound across the stadium, signaling the beginning of the quest to be crowned winner of the Tournament of Champions."
"More than 1,500 performers will be involved in the opening ceremony, which will also feature colorful visual elements and the Russia 2018 Official Mascot, the charming wolf Zabivaka," according to FIFA.
Alexei Sorokin, the CEO of Russia-2018 Local Organizing Committee (LOC), said commenting on the upcoming ceremony that it would be a ‘very special moment’ for the whole country as it would be displaying the nation’s cultural traditions for the world.
"This is a very special moment for Russia and we are glad that we can show football fans a glimpse of our culture before the football action takes the stage," Sorokin was quoted by FIFA as saying.
"Differently from what the Russian audience saw in the opening ceremony of the Sochi Olympics, the highlight of the evening is the opening match," he said.
In February and March of 2014, the Russian resort city of Sochi hosted the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, which, according to international sports officials, athletes and visitors, were organized at the highest level possible and provided up-to-date infrastructure at all levels.
"We will not be able to use heavy structures or pyrotechnic for example, but with a lot of creativity we are positive that Russian fans will feel proud while international spectators will wish to discover some of the country’s cultural treasures that will be presented during the show," Sorokin added.
The FIFA Confederations Cup, dubbed the ‘Tournament of Champions,’ is also viewed by experts as just a rehearsal, with only one year to go to the FIFA World Cup. This year’s tournament 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 the Kazan Arena in Kazan.
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 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 go head to head with Mexico in Kazan.