On the eve of the Preliminary Draw in St. Petersburg, the Organising Committee for the FIFA World Cup™ today unveiled the match schedules for the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017  and the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Russia, as the hosts, have been named as the A1 seeds for both competitions. Kick-off times will be confirmed at a later stage.

Chaired by Michel Platini, the organising committee also formally approved the procedures for the Preliminary Draw and the qualifiers in each of the six confederations, which have been developed and submitted by the respective confederations. The preliminary competition will span 32 months featuring 851 matches (between March 2015 and November 2017) until it is known who will join the Russian hosts in the 32-team line-up for the 21st edition of the FIFA World Cup.

The fact that no fewer than 17 million fans watched the 820 matches of the 2014 qualifiers live in the stadiums highlights in an impressive manner how tremendous the outreach of the preliminary competition for the FIFA World Cup is.

The Handshake for Peace, a gesture of friendship and solidarity, will feature at all matches during the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers and final competition as part of the pre- and post-match protocol.

The Local Organising Committee (LOC), led by chairman Vitaly Mutko and CEO Alexey Sorokin, provided the organising committee with a comprehensive update on the status of the preparations for the two major football competitions to be staged in 2017 and 2018. The organising committee expressed its satisfaction with the progress made to date and thanked the LOC for the warm welcome and great preparations for the first official 2018 FIFA World Cup event, the Preliminary Draw.

To facilitate fans’ travel to and experience of the host country during the events, Russia has launched a comprehensive tourism portal (welcome2018.com).

The FIFA Confederations Cup, also known as the festival of champions, will be staged from 17 June to 2 July 2017, with eight teams competing for the trophy: Russia (hosts), Germany (reigning world champions), Asian Cup winners Australia, and Copa América champions Chile have already qualified. They will be joined by the CONCACAF representative, which will be decided for the first time by a play-off match between the Gold Cup champions of 2013 (USA) and 2015 (Jamaica or Mexico), as well as the winners of the CAF Africa Cup of Nations 2016, UEFA EURO 2016 and the OFC Nations Cup 2016. The draw will be staged in Kazan in November 2016".

The next meeting of the Organising Committee for the FIFA World Cup will take place in Zurich on Wednesday 16 March 2016.