A delegation of senior officials from the 2018 FIFA World Cup RussiaTM Local Organising Committee (LOC) and experts from FIFA completed its inspection tour to help identify the cities that will host matches at FIFA’s showpiece event with a visit to Volgograd on 22 June. Volgograd was the last of 13 candidate cities visited by the experts.
The delegation flew into Volgograd the day before, and immediately started examining the facilities included in the city’s bid to host matches at Russia 2018. In particular, the experts, led by the CEO of the Russia 2018 LOC, Alexey Sorokin, and FIFA’s head of department for the 2014, 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups, Jurgen Muller, spent time looking at plans for the reconstruction of Volgograd’s airport. The airport is situated within the city limits, 20 km from the site where organisers plan to build a new stadium for Russia 2018. Once the airport has been rebuilt, it will have a new runway, and its passenger terminal will be able to handle more traffic, up to 6,000 people in 10 hours. If Volgograd is chosen to host matches at the FIFA World Cup, the airport’s capacity will be increased by adding an extra terminal.
The delegation from the LOC and FIFA also visited Volgograd’s Central Embankment, an area of 11 hectares where the city plans to organise its FIFA World Cup Fan Zone. The Central Embankment’s grand ceremonial staircase, which leads to the River Volga, will provide a natural amphitheatre, with a large screen being installed on the lower terrace to show Russia 2018 matches. Up to 50,000 guests will be able to attend the fan festival at any one time.
The delegation continued its inspection of the facilities included in Volgograd’s bid for the tournament on 22 June, with a visit to the Central Stadium. Built in 1962, the arena is set to be dismantled and replaced by a modern new stadium seating 45,000 people. It will be located on the high bank of the Volga, opposite the Mamayev Kurgan memorial complex, 4 km from the city centre. The arena’s east stand will be covered with a multi-coloured canvas roof, providing views of the city’s most famous landmark, the 100-metre-tall The Motherland Calls monument. The design for the stadium is scheduled to be ready in 2013, with the arena itself being delivered in 2017.
“We understand the tasks that need to be carried out in terms of organising and staging the matches. We need to put our infrastructure, roads, communications and hotels in order, and we need to build a new stadium. We’ve already launched a project to rebuild the runway at Volgograd’s airport, and we’ve begun repairs on the city’s road infrastructure. We also know what facilities need to be built in the immediate run-up to the tournament. I’m sure that, if Volgograd is chosen to host matches at the FIFA World Cup, we will meet each and every demand,” said the governor of Volgograd Region, Sergey Bozhenov, at the end of the inspection visit by the Russia 2018 LOC and FIFA.
The inspection visit will be followed by the publication of a report by an expert commission, and these findings will be used as part of the process of determining the final list of host cities for the FIFA 2018 World Cup.