VLADIVOSTOK, September 5. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet Gianni Infantino, the president of the world’s governing football body FIFA, at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on Saturday, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday.
The much coveted FIFA World Cup trophy is set to embark on the global tour this Saturday, September 9, from the Luzhniki Stadium in the Russian capital of Moscow. The official ceremony to launch the tour is expected to be attended by world’s high-ranking sports and state officials.
"As far as I know, Infantino will be there (at the Luzhniki Stadium) as well, so they will certainly meet," Peskov told journalists.
FIFA announced in its statement on Monday that among the participants of the official ceremony at the football stadium in Moscow this Saturday will be FIFA President Gianni Infantino, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko, Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin, world football legends Jose Roberto Gama de Oliveira (Bebeto) and David Trezeguet as well as many others.
"From September 2017 onwards, the Original Trophy will be showcased in 24 Russian cities and more than 50 countries around the globe, creating a uniquely festive atmosphere in the run-up to the 2018 FIFA World Cup and giving fans the opportunity to see the most coveted prize in world football," the statement from FIFA said.
Last week FIFA announced that ahead of the FIFA World Cup kick-off in Russia on June 14, 2018, the original trophy had left its display cabinet at the FIFA World Football Museum in Zurich to embark on the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour.
Starting last week on Monday, visitors at the FIFA World Football Museum now have the opportunity to see the 2018 FIFA World Cup Winners’ Trophy.
According to FIFA, "Germany’s 1990 world champion Pierre Littbarski switched the two trophies in the most popular display case at football history’s new home and handed the Original Trophy over to the officials responsible for the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour."
After hosting the Confederations Cup this summer, Russia is now in full-swing preparations to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Russia was granted the right for the football championship after clinching the bid in Guatemala in December 2010. The victory came following a tight race against a bid from England, a joint bid from Portugal and Spain and another 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.
Refurbishment on the Luzhniki Arena was launched in 2013 and once the work was completed, the stadium would extend its spectator capacity boasting up to 81,000 seats.
This is the second grand reconstruction of the stadium, which was initially built in 1957. The first major repair works on the stadium took place in the run-up to the 1980 Summer Olympic Games in Moscow.
Following the current reconstruction efforts, the athletics tracks inside the stadium were removed, the spectators’ stand are now rectangular in form and moved closer to the pitch, while the number of tiers will be increased to 16 from the previous 13.
One of the main aspects of the reconstruction project was to preserve the historical facade of the stadium, which, according to FIFA, "since 1956 hosted a multitude of major sporting and cultural events, including the 1980 Summer Olympics, world championships in ice hockey, athletics and rugby and concerts featuring some of the world's greatest musical performers."
The Luzhniki Arena’s principal affinity, however, was with football since over 3,000 matches have been played there over the years.