MOSCOW, May 23. /TASS/. Russia is always ready to assist in the implementation of FIFA’s plans regarding the development of football, Russian ]President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday during his meeting with FIFA President Gianni Infantino in Moscow.
The Russian president said he was glad to see the chief of the world’s governing football body in the Russian capital and congratulated him with receiving the 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 in Russia."
"I would like to thank you for everything you have done during the preparations for the World Cup in Russia, for your high assessments of our work," Putin told Infantino.
"I know that you have a lot of work to be done and we are always ready to assist, ready to be near and be a part of the implementation of the plans you have told me about - the plans on the global football development," the Russian president said.
"I am sure that you will manage to accomplish all set tasks with your energy and organizational talent," Putin added.
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.