VOLGOGRAD, November 8. /TASS/. The FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour made a stop on Wednesday at the Russian city of Volgograd, which is one of 11 cities across the country selected to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The much-coveted trophy was presented during a solemn ceremony at the newly-built Volgograd Arena.
"The World Cup Trophy is a dream for every football player," Volgograd Region Governor Andrei Bocharov said addressing everyone at the ceremony. "This is the dream of millions of fans, boys and girls playing football."
"Volgograd is the city with football traditions," the governor said. "We are confident that the upcoming World Cup will provide for the development of sports, the development of children and youth football, including here in the Volgograd Region."
Russia’s two-time Olympic Champion in Pole Vault Yelena Isinbayeva, who is also the 2018 World Cup ambassador representing her native Volgograd, said addressing the ceremony, "I saw this Trophy for the first time ever in 2010 in Zurich, where I was a member of our bidding delegation (to host the 2018 World Cup)."
"I could have never imagined that this trophy will come here to Volgograd, to this new stadium, which is considered today to be one of the best in the country," Isinbayeva said. "But it happened and today we have a real holiday."
The FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour kicked off on September 9 in Moscow. The trophy is set to be on display in 16 cities from September to December, and Volgograd was its 14th stop. After that it is set to travel to Krasnodar and Sochi and then it will be sent abroad and exhibited in more than 50 countries around the world. The trophy will then return to Russia and visit nine more Russian cities. The total length of the tour is more than 27,000 km.
Volgograd, formerly known as Stalingrad, is a city of over one million population stretching alongside the Volga River. The city and the surrounding areas were the scene of the heaviest battles of World War II and the Battle of Stalingrad is considered to be the turning point in the war.
An area of over 20 hectares (almost 50 acres) was allocated for the construction of the new stadium and parking sites almost in the heart of the city, while the Pobeda Arena itself will be occupying an area of some 124,000 square meters (30.6 acres).
After successfully hosting the 2017 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.