MOSCOW, February 20. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin held a meeting on Wednesday in Moscow with FIFA President Gianni Infantino and told the head of the world’s governing football body that he was awarded with Russia’s Order of Friendship.
On February 6, Putin signed a decree to award FIFA President Infantino with the Order of Friendship. According to the decree, the FIFA president was awarded with the Order of Friendship for his "enormous contribution in the organization of the 2018 FIFA World Cup."
"We are currently in active work regarding the heritage of the World Cup and I would like to thank you once again for the provided assistance in the preparations to organize the world championship," Putin told Infantino. "You may know already that as a sign of gratitude I have signed a decree to award you with Russia’s Order of Friendship."
The Russian president said that the 2018 FIFA World Cup was important not for the whole country only but for younger generations as well to join the sport.
"We are now faced with the task of making use of everything that was left from for the World Cup and we must use it effectively," Putin told Infantino. "We count on your support on this issue as well."
FIFA President Infantino replied to Putin saying ‘Thank You’ in Russian. The head of the global football organization added he was glad that the 2018 FIFA World Cup was the best ever in the history of the world championships and it also served to disperse all prejudices and negative allegations in regard to Russia.
Speaking to a TASS correspondent two weeks ago in Italy’s Rome, Infantino said that being awarded an Order of Friendship by Putin was "Big honor. Incredible."
Last summer Russia hosted its first-ever FIFA World Cup, which kicked off in Moscow with a remarkable opening show at Luzhniki Stadium on the evening of June 14 and ended with a spectacular final match, played also at the Luzhniki Stadium, where France confidently defeated Croatia 4-2 to win the much-coveted World Cup Trophy.
Russia selected 11 host cities as the venues for the matches of the 2018 World Cup and they were Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.
FIFA President Infantino said after the world championship that Russia staged "the best World Cup ever." According to the Russian Federal Agency for Tourism, some 2.9 million foreign visitors arrived in Russia last summer for the FIFA World Cup.
In late December, FIFA announced in its statement that the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia set a new record of audience in the history of world football championships as over half of the world’s population watched matches on TV at home, out of home or on digital platforms.