The 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Local Organising Committee (Russia 2018 LOC) held its eighth Management Board meeting with FIFA participation on 27 April 2016 in Nizhny Novgorod. Members of this board include heads of key FIFA and LOC departments, who discussed the main issues in operational planning for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ and associated events.
On the evening before the meeting, the board members visited the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, which is set to host six World Cup matches including a Round of 16 game and a quarter-final, and noted the good progress on construction at the new arena. The conclusion of the operational tour of Russia 2018 venues was discussed, along with progress on the campaign to design the official tournament mascot, the start of the Russia 2018 volunteer-selection process and the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017. The LOC-FIFA Board also made the important step of confirming sites for FIFA Fan Fests™ in Host Cities.
The Confederations Cup is still the priority in terms of preparations for Russia 2018. The finishing touches are being applied to the tournament's stadiums and the Confederations Cup draw will take place in Kazan on 26 November.
FIFA and LOC representatives answered questions from the media following the meeting.
Markus Kattner, Acting FIFA Secretary General:
On the LOC Board meeting in Nizhny Novgorod
It was great to be able to see a little bit of Nizhny Novgorod yesterday and get a first taste of what fans can expect here in 26 months from now. We had a very constructive board meeting, overall the reparations for the World Cup in Russia are progressing well although there remains still a lot to be done and we must keep the pace of progress. Based on the feedback from our operational experts – and my colleague Colin Smith was part of the last operational planning tour to six of the 12 stadia, it is safe to say we are on the right track. The team was praising the great level of cooperation and understanding between our teams – LOC, the government authorities, FIFA and the Host Cities.
On the FIFA Fan Fest
The board approved already the venues that will host in 2018 the FIFA Fan Fests. I am sure some of you remember from 2014, when the FIFA Fan Fest gathered more than 140,000 spectators in six cities here in Russia, including Nizhny Novgorod. The FIFA Fan Fest is a key and very special part of the FIFA World Cup experience. It is a unique get-together of joyful and friendly fans, all celebrating their love for football. So before we talk about our plans for an unforgettable party across all FIFA World Cup Host Cities in Russia, let’s look back to some impressions from the previous ones.
30 million people have already attended the FIFA Fan Fest and today we are happy to kick-start the planning of this project in Russia by announcing the FIFA Fan Fest venues in eleven 2018 FIFA World Cup Host Cities. After getting together in the Brandenburg Gate or Copacabana Beach, I am sure in 2018 the fans will take some of their best memories from places like the Sparrow Hills in Moscow, the beach promenade in Sochi or the Minin & Pozharsky Square here in Nizhny Novgorod.
Colin Smith, FIFA Competitions Director:
On the overall stadium preparations
We at FIFA monitor very regularly and closely the stadiums together with the LOC, Arena-2018, the Host Cities and the regions. With projects the size of the FIFA World Cup, it is normal that there are certain flows in the construction timescale but we are comfortable with the timelines provided. There is still a lot to be done and we can’t waste a single minute but overall we are on track. We are very happy with the commitment and support from all of the regional governors in each host city. I’d like to state again that we are comfortable with the timeline and that’s the message from our side.