A review of the main achievements of 2015 and preparations for the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 were the main topics of today’s seventh meeting of the Russia 2018 LOC (Local Organising Committee) Management Board in Moscow, with FIFA’s participation. Prior to the meeting, the board members used the occasion to make a brief visit of the Luzhniki Stadium and see first-hand the construction status of what will be the venue of the opening and final matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup™.

Chairman of the LOC and Minister of Sport of the Russian Federation Vitaly Mutko presented a detailed report on the preparations for the two major football events to take place in Russia in the next three years and the organisers’ milestones for 2016.

“The experience the LOC has picked up during the preparation and hosting of the Preliminary Draw for Russia 2018 will be useful as we organise the next official tournament events: the Confederations Cup 2017 draw, the FIFA Confederations Cup and the Final Draw for the 2018 World Cup,” said Mutko after the meeting. “I am sure that we will once again amaze guests and fans by providing a taste of what they can expect in Russia in 2018.”

An additional focus of the LOC in 2016 will be on getting ready for the FIFA Confederations Cup, which will be played from 17 June to 2 July 2017 in four of the 12 FIFA World Cup™ venues, namely Kazan, the Spartak Stadium in Moscow, Sochi and Saint Petersburg. On 3 February 2016, 500 days from the start of the tournament that is also known as the “festival of champions”, the Official Emblem will be unveiled in Moscow.

The revamped Fisht Stadium in Sochi will open its doors to fans in mid-2016, while construction on the last of the tournament's four arenas, the Saint Petersburg Stadium, is due to be completed later that year. This stadium will host the opening match and the final of the Confederations Cup, with a high-level line-up taking shape. Already qualified are hosts Russia, FIFA World Cup™ champions Germany, South American champions Chile, Asian champions Australia and CONCACAF Gold Cup winners Mexico. In June/July 2016, the winners of UEFA Euro 2016 and the OFC Nations Cup will fill two of the three remaining spots, and in early 2017, the African Champions will secure the last berth.

“2015 was a key year for the planning and operational work in the build-up for 2018. Looking ahead to next year, we see that there is a great deal still to be done, especially in the area of infrastructure, as we approach the final stretch of preparations for the next major milestone: the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017, which kicks off in 656 days. Overall, the preparations are on track, but the focus must remain on a collective effort with the Host Cities to ensure all elements are in place for the teams and fans to enjoy two great football events here in Russia in 2017 and 2018,” explained FIFA’s Acting Secretary General Markus Kattner.

During the meeting, the dates and venues for upcoming Russia 2018 events were confirmed, with the draw for the FIFA Confederations Cup due to take place in Kazan on 26 November 2016. The Kazan Tennis Academy has been chosen as the venue, as it fits all of the necessary parameters. The LOC Board also established the date of the Final Draw of the 2018 FIFA World Cup™. The 32 countries that make it through to the final stage will gather in Moscow on 1 December 2017 to begin plotting their route through the tournament to lift the coveted trophy on 15 July 2018. The team workshop for the 32 participants has been pencilled in for 27-28 February 2018 in Sochi.

The LOC Board also discussed the main operational strategies agreed in 2015. This year, the Sustainability Strategy for the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the LOC volunteer programme were both given the go-ahead, setting out the guiding policies for sustainable development and volunteer work. One example is the waste recycling programme, which was launched at the Preliminary Draw. It is planned to extend this programme during 2016 to all Russia 2018 stadiums that are already operational and other 2018-related events.

The next LOC Board meeting will take place in Nizhniy Novgorod on 9 February 2016.