YEKATERINBURG, March 20. /TASS/. Experts from the world’s governing football body, FIFA, are satisfied with the readiness of the football arena in the Russian Urals city of Yekaterinburg for hosting matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, a FIFA official said on Tuesday.
FIFA Director of Competitions Colin Smith, who is currently in Yekaterinburg on an inspection visit with a delegation of FIFA experts, told journalists that the stadium in the Russian Urals city was ready for the world championship and trial matches must be held at the newly reconstructed facility ahead of the World Cup to test the operation capacity of the football arena.
Smith said that besides the football stadium, which would be hosting the matches of the championship, the FIFA delegation paid particular attention to the readiness of other facilities, including the transport infrastructure, accommodation and airport, to make sure that everything was in line with the international standards.
The opening match at the refurbished Yekaterinburg Arena will be played on April 1 between home football club Urals and Rubin FC from Kazan as part of the 24th round of the RFPL 2017/2018 season.
Reconstruction works at Yekaterinburg’s Central Stadium, which was initially opened in 1957, were launched in September 2015, to prepare the arena for hosting matches of the global quadrennial football event in 2018.
The stadium, which will host a total of four matches of the 2018 World Cup, was commissioned on December 29, 2017.
Following the reconstruction efforts at the stadium, which is home to one of the country’s oldest football clubs, Urals FC, the facility boasts an over 35,000-seat capacity while its historical facade remained untouched.
Founded in 1723 by decree of Russian Emperor Peter the Great, Yekaterinburg is the fourth most populated city in Russia. It is also one of 12 Russian cities with a population of over a million.
Yekaterinburg gained popularity in the 18th century as Russia’s iron-making center and is now a modern city with world-class infrastructure, which includes an efficient road and metro network, as well as a modern airport.
Russia selected 11 host cities to 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 mentioned above cities across Russia. Two of the stadiums are located in the Russian capital.