2018 hosts Russia to call on FIFA expertise

AFP, Sunday 23 Jan 2011

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announces his intention to seek the cooperation of FIFA from the start of his country's preparations for the 2018 World Cup

Joseph Blatter unveils Russia as hosts of the World Cup 2018

"Russian government has set up the 2018 World Cup organising committee," Putin said during his meeting with FIFA supremo Joseph Blatter near Saint Petersburg on Saturday.

Putin added that Russia's 2014 Olympics organising committee has positive experience of working with the International Olympic Committee in their preparations for the Winter Games in Sochi.

"I would like to ask FIFA to set up a team of specialists, who could work together with us from the very beginning of our preparations for the 2018 World Cup, like we are working with the IOC," Putin added.

He also disclosed that the Russian government was discussing a project of connecting all the World Cup host cities with a high-speed rail network.

"We are hoping that the preparations and staging the World Cup will exert a very positive effect on our country," he said.

"The World Cup is not only stadiums. It's also airports, streets, roads, communications, railroads etc. This will all serve not only to the football lovers but to all Russian citizens."

Blatter expressed his satisfaction with Putin's proposal, adding that he was especially pleased that Russian government would be directly involved in the process of preparations for holding the 2018 World Cup.

"I can assure you, Mr Prime Minister, that we will definitely support every Russia effort trying to act the most effective way as the World Cup is our joint venture," Blatter said.

The FIFA boss confirmed again he was completely confident that the decision to entrust Russia with the right to hold the 2018 World Cup was absolutely correct.

"We became aware that our decision to grant Russia the right to host the 2018 World Cup was correct," Blatter said.

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