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MOSCOW, October 5. /TASS/. Russia’s current state of preparations to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup is good and in line with the schedule, a senior FIFA official said on Thursday after a regular visit of a delegation from the world’s governing football body to Russia.
Between September 26 and October 5 the delegation, headed by LOC General Director Alexey Sorokin and the FIFA chief Competitions & Events Officer, Colin Smith, visited eight Russian cities, namely Yekaterinburg, Samara, Saransk, Nizhny Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don, Volgograd, Kaliningrad and Moscow (Luzhniki Stadium).
"In general terms, it has been a very good tour, it allowed us to look into all the different areas and functions in the stadiums and throughout the host cities," Smith told a news conference in Moscow.
The joint group included experts in the design of stadiums, preparation and conduct of competitions, security, transport, logistics, hospitality services, television broadcasting, media support, personnel work, marketing and ticket programs.
"These inspections are a great opportunity for us, together with our colleagues from the Organizing Committee and the regions and cities involved, to develop the further planning for the FIFA World Cup," Smith said.
"Obviously we are looking at the readiness not only of the stadiums but of all the host cities. We look at the training sites, hotels, airports, general road infrastructure," the FIFA official stated.
"In general, the state of readiness is good, planning is good and on track," Smith said. "But as we have said at numerous stops there are risks still."
"There is a significant amount of work to be done, especially in the next two or three months to have all of the infrastructure - in terms of construction and some of the commissioning works - completed by the end of the year," he added.
After successfully hosting the FIFA Confederations Cup this summer, Russia is now in full-swing preparations to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The country was granted the right for the global quadrennial football championship after winning the bid in Guatemala in December 2010. The victory came following a tight race against the bid from England, the joint bid from Portugal and Spain and the 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 mentioned above cities across Russia. Two of the stadiums are located in the Russian capital.