Moscow has played host to the third meeting of the Supervisory Board of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ Local Organising Committee (LOC), chaired by the country's President Vladimir Putin.
For the first time, the Russia 2018 LOC Supervisory Board adopted an expanded format, with both FIFA President Blatter and FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke participating in the meeting as guests while visiting Moscow for the presentation of the competition's official emblem.
Also taking part were Igor Shuvalov, Deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Board and Russian First Deputy Prime Minister; Vitaly Mutko, Chairman of the Russia 2018 LOC and Russian Sports Minister; Alexey Sorokin, Chief Executive of the Russia 2018 LOC; ministers from the relevant federal ministries and government departments involved in preparations for the World Cup; leaders from the tournament's host regions; and representatives of the football community and business.
Ahead of the Supervisory Board meeting, Vladimir Putin visited the Luzhniki stadium, the main arena for Russia 2018, which will host the tournament's opening match and Final. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin briefed the Russian head of state on the arena's reconstruction, and on work to modernise the complex in time for 2018.
“Today President Blatter and I have been to the Luzhniki stadium reconstruction site and were convinced that all work required is being carried out as planned,” said Vladimir Putin, Chairman of the Supervisory Board. “It is important that the pace of work at other World Cup venues also corresponds to what has been scheduled, to provide for those coming to watch and take part in the tournament. There is no doubt in my mind that Russia will deliver everything on time and to the quality expected. We already have experience of hosting the Winter Olympics, the Universiade, and a whole range of global and continent-wide championships. All of this experience should be borne in mind.”
FIFA President Blatter said: “We look forward to continuing the excellent working relationship with Russia as we work towards 2018. Each of your ministries is key for the success of the FIFA Confederations Cup and the FIFA World Cup – only in a collective effort together will we succeed, and we are counting on you.”
The Supervisory Board meeting discussed stadium construction and the overall implementation of the infrastructure programme, World Cup transport and security arrangements, and preparations for the tournament's first official event - the World Cup qualifying draw, which will be taking place in St Petersburg on 25 July 2015. The meeting also assessed the work of the LOC and identified the priorities for World Cup preparations in 2015.
"We've begun our preparations at a good pace," Vitaly Mutko, Russia 2018 LOC Chairman, stressed in his report. "In large part, that's thanks to the backing the organisers have enjoyed from the Russian leadership.
“The World Cup is one of the country's biggest and most important projects. To date, all the decisions needed in order to hold a successful tournament have been taken, and all the time we're working jointly with FIFA experts, who recently completed their inspection of all the stadiums that are currently under construction or that have already been designed, and with all the authorities involved at federal and regional level. I'm confident that we'll be able to win the hearts of our guests and the teams taking part."