MOSCOW, December 1. /TASS/. Russia is looking forward to hosting the 2018 FIFA World Cup and is determined to hold a top-notch event, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the Draw ceremony in the Kremlin.
"Our country is looking forward to the World Cup and it is going to hold a top-notch event to let the leading footballers display their skills and show what real football is all about," Putin said.
He voiced the certainty that those who would come to Russia to support their teams would receive unforgettable impressions from the World Cup.
Foreign fans, in his words, will have a possibility to learn more about Russian culture, history and unique nature. "And, naturally, they will feel our traditional hospitality and openness, the more so as the World Cup matches will be played in 11 Russian cities and fans will have a chance to visit several regions of our country, which is so enormous and diverse. And anyone who has been in Russia at least once knows how hospitable we are to our friends," Putin said, adding that football fans, players and coaches "are seen as friends" in Russia.
Putin also said that the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia will unite the international sports family and its values that are independent from the current situation.
"We’ll make everything possible so that it [the competition - TASS] became a true sports holiday and, what is most important, brought closer the big and friendly football family, the family that values sports, friendship and fair contest most of all and the values of which are not governed by any current situation," Putin said.
The head of state noted that Russia’s love for football is old, strong and nationwide. "I’ve just met with high-profile football players who popularized football and are known by many generations across the world," the Russian leader noted. "But the world football records will always keep the names of our sportsmen, such as Lev Yashin, Nikita Simonyan, Rinat Dasayev and dozens of other talented and bright masters." Putin added that the number of those engaged in football exceeds 2.7 mln people.
The head of state expressed confidence that the World Cup will become "the most powerful factor for development of this kind of sports both in the Russian regions and the whole world, chiefly among young people."
Eleven host cities will 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 cities across Russia.