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Putin says renovated stadium deserves being main host for 2018 FIFA World Cup

September 09, 2017, 16:30 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The president participated in the ceremony to kick off the Trophy Tour, which was organized at the arena of the newly renovated Luzhniki stadium in Moscow

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MOSCOW, September 9. /TASS/. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin promised to fans of the 2018 FIFA World Cup games excellent organization and spectacle of this event, and to football players he wished honest competition and sincere emotions. The president participated in the ceremony to kick off the Trophy Tour, which was organized at the arena of the newly renovated Luzhniki stadium in Moscow on Saturday.

The president said, this stadium is well known to all sports fans, it has witnessed hundreds records and sports achievements. "No doubt, the atmosphere of competition and bright victories remains at Luzhniki after that great renovation. The stadium deserves being the main host of the upcoming World Cup," the president said, adding the stadium would host the beginning and final games of the tournament.

"Similarly beautiful, comfortable, technically equipped arenas will welcome players and fans in every Russian city, participating in the championships," he continued. "Though we have huge experience in organization of major international competitions, we prepare for the World Cup with top responsibility."

Football is extremely popular in Russia, and this country has done a lot for its development, he said. "I am sure, we shall see new football heroes and new victories, and our national team will please its fans."

The president expressed confidence the "2018 World Cup will give a mighty impetus to development of football, and its material heritage would be centers, attracting the multi-million football brotherhood, young players, like the 1,500 students of our sports schools, who are here now from across the country."

"By hosting in Russia the planet’s main football tournament we shall see better our own players," Putin said. "We all are looking forward anxiously to watching those exciting games, honest competition between masters and sincere emotions."

"Good luck," he wished to all.

The president came to the Luzhniki on Saturday afternoon to see the renovated stadium. Together with Mayor Sergei Sobyanin he walked floors of the huge complex, watched training of young players from various sports schools.

The mayor told the president the decision was to keep the historic fa·ade, but the interior has changed completely as it became a modern high-tech arena. The project added entrances and exits, and now the audience of 80,000 may flee the stadium within seven minutes - it is a world record. The project also suggested a security perimeter, and the 160 hectares of Luzhniki’s territory now are a first-class sports park, and construction of sports facilities there is under way.

Conversation with FIFA’s chief

Together with the president and the mayor, the tour of Luzhniki featured FIFA’s Chief Gianni Infantino. Putin asked him whether he had anything to say concerning the stadium. FIFA’s chief said the stadium is very beautiful, it has everything a stadium of a very-very-very high class should have, adding Russia may be proud of what has been done. "We want to thank you for the effort of your experts during the reconstruction," Putin told Infantino.

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