FIFA President Blatter concluded a three-day visit to St Petersburg today, 26 January 2014. During his trip, he opened the XXII Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Cup together with governor Georgy Poltavchenko and Football Union of Russia President Nikolai Tolstykh, and held meetings with Russia's Sports Minister and FIFA Executive Committee member Vitaly Mutko and the 14 participating member associations gathered in St. Petersburg: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
The talks focused on football development matters, including the implementation of FIFA supported grassroots activities in the region. Over the past years, the said countries have benefited from FIFA’s development initiatives in a variety of areas, including infrastructure, education and technology.
"The CIS Cup represents an excellent platform for young players and it once again confirms Russia’s commitment towards the future of football. I believe we’ll see some of today’s CIS Cup players at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, which will be a milestone for our sport," said FIFA President Blatter who has witnessed all editions of the tournament.
Commenting on the upcoming Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, FIFA President Blatter said: "I look forward to the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, which will give the international community an opportunity to unite and celebrate through sport. The fact that the stadium staging the opening ceremony on 7 February will also be a host venue for the 2018 FIFA World Cup is something very special."