Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday said the FIFA 2018 World Cup to be held in Russia is a good opportunity to show the world an open and multifaceted country.
According to Putin, the World Cup would guide all visitors to “experience the unique history and diverse culture of Russia”, as the matches would be held in 11 host cities located in “Russian regions with distinctive traditions”.
Speaking at the beginning of the qualification draws, Putin promised that Russia would do everything to ensure the safety and maximum comfort for football fans from all over the world.
The president in particular mentioned the decision to scrap visas for 2018 World Cup visitors as one practical step to achieve that goal.
“I would like to reiterate that all preparation plans for the World Cup would be completed. Holding the games is one of our key tasks,” an online transcript released by the Kremlin quoted Putin as saying.
He added that creating decent conditions for teams to “fully concentrate on the game and show high quality football skills” is “fundamentally important” for Russia.
Before addressing the qualification draws held at Constantine Palace in Strelna outside St. Petersburg, Putin met with FIFA president Sepp Blatter.
While Putin assured Blatter that 2018 World Cup would be successful, amazing and high-level, the FIFA president reiterated the full support of the organization for Russia’s preparation for and hosting the games.
“(Our support) is especially important considering current geopolitical situation…we would like to do something specific to support peace, to support the development of football,” Blatter said.
The qualification draws were held here Saturday night to lay out the road to the 2018 FIFA World Cup for 141 teams from across the world. Enditem