MOSCOW, December 14. /TASS/. A friendly football match between the national teams of Russia and France next year on March 27 is most likely to be played at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko told TASS on Thursday.
"The game is most likely to be played in Moscow although it may be disappointing for (Russian) regions," Mutko, who is also the president of the Russian Football Union (RFU), said in an interview with TASS.
"The French team is among the world’s leaders and they wish to play in the Russian capital at the best stadium, which is Luzhniki," Mutko said. "The French team is outstanding and they have the right to choose."
"We will soon make an official announcement on this issue," the RFU president added.
The Russian football team is also scheduled to play a friendly match at the Luzhniki Stadium on March 23 against Brazil.
The Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow opened after the reconstruction works last month with a friendly match between the national teams of Russia and Argentina (0-1).
The refurbishment of the Luzhniki Arena began in 2013 as part of the country’s preparations to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The stadium is expected to extend its spectator capacity up to 81,000 seats for the global football championship.
It was the second grand-scale reconstruction of the stadium, originally 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.
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 Stadium’s principal affinity, however, was with football since over 3,000 matches have been played there over the years.