MOSCOW, February 8. /TASS/. The Russian Football Union (RFU) has been handling preparations for the 2018 FIFA World Cup well, Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko told TASS.
In late December Mutko stepped down as RFU President for six months and RFU Director General Alexander Alayev was appointed the Union’s acting president.
"I can’t say that I am completely satisfied with how things are going on, but in general, the RFU has been handling well the issues it is facing, which concern, first and foremost, the national team’s preparations for the World Cup," Mutko said. Everybody is working hard, there will be friendlies and training activities. In this connection, the Russian Football Union is one of the few public organizations that has been coping well with its tasks," the Russian deputy prime minister added.
"Another question is that since our economic situation has improved we need to move forward and address youth football, train the new generation of players and properly launch the talent search program this year, as we need to choose 50 to 60 academies, training methods and coaches," he went on to say.
"The work on the 2020 professional football concept is underway but at the moment issues concerning the World Cup are a priority as we don’t have much time left," Mutko concluded.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup will be held between June 14 and July 15, 2018, in 11 Russian cities - Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Yekaterinburg, Samara, Sochi and Rostov-on-Don.
Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Uruguay will make up Group A, while Group B will include Portugal, Spain, Iran and Morocco. Group C is going to consist of France, Australia, Peru and Denmark, while Group D will be Argentina, Iceland, Croatia and Nigeria. Group E will be composed of Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia. Group F has Germany, Mexico, Sweden and South Korea, while Group G will encompass Belgium, Panama, Tunisia and England. Finally, Group H has Poland, Colombia, Senegal and Japan.