FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke has been on a sightseeing tour of the city of Kazan, as FIFA representatives prepare to attend a session of the council of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ Local Organising Committee (LOC), due to take place at city hall in Tatarstan's capital on 29 October.
The unseasonably warm and pleasant weather Kazan has been enjoying over the past few days gave the FIFA delegation and the LOC the chance to visit some of the city's most famous locations. They took in the view from the vantage point at the Kazan Kremlin, delved inside the handsome Qol Sharif mosque and sampled some traditional Tatar cuisine. The council's participants also visited Kazan's international airport, where reconstruction work was completed in the summer.
"Kazan is a remarkable city, and is ready to host the Confederations Cup and the World Cup," Jérôme Valcke said at the end of the tour. "I must praise the LOC for its excellent choice."
To close out the tour, the delegation visited the Kazan Arena, a new stadium that also opened in the summer. Situated on the picturesque banks of the Kazanka river, the arena resembles a water-lily, while by night the light screens installed along the stadium's outer façade make it the most noticeable and striking building in Kazan. Work is currently under way to install a drainage system and undersoil heating, and local club Rubin, who have won the Russian title twice, will shortly be playing home games there.
At the stadium, Jérôme Valcke and the rest of the delegation were greeted by Alexander Ryazantsev, who plays for Rubin and has been capped by Russia, along with pupils from the club's academy.
"The stadium made a great impression on me," FIFA's Secretary General said. "It's a new, modern arena, and what's also important is that it has already hosted major events, during the World University Games. I am confident that it will play host to some superb matches at the World Cup."
In 2017, Kazan will be hosting matches during the FIFA Confederations Cup, and a year later it will be playing host to matches at the FIFA World Cup.