A joint delegation of specialists from FIFA and the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ Local Organising Committee (LOC) has concluded its sixth stadium operational planning tour. The main aim of the visit was to monitor the latest developments of the renovation and construction works in eight stadiums, as well as to discuss how they will operate during the tournament.

The group of experts started their journey on 26 September and travelled around the venues that did not host the FIFA Confederations Cup this year: Ekaterinburg, Samara, Saransk, Nizhny Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don, Volgograd and Kaliningrad. The tour was wrapped up on 5 October at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, the glittering venue for the final of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

“Visits like these are an important part of preparations for the World Cup, which we’re all waiting for next year,” said LOC CEO Alexey Sorokin. “The stadiums that held the FIFA Confederations Cup this year were already tested and currently our attention is focused on the arenas that are still being built. Up to three test matches, planned for spring, will be held at each of these venues before the World Cup. We are confident they will go according to plan.”

“In general terms, it’s been a very good tour,” said FIFA Chief Competitions & Events Officer Colin Smith. “The state of readiness and planning are good and on track, but there is also a significant amount of work to be done, especially in the next two or three months. Where necessary, we’ve highlighted where we feel there are risks. We’ll continue to monitor and work together with the LOC, the cities and the regions. We look forward to the test matches in 2018, because that’s the first opportunity we’ll get to see the facilities in action.”

In Rostov-on-Don, the specialists were able to see the stadium’s multimedia façade being built and the roof being lifted into place. In Volgograd, they observed progress on the stadium’s roof and witnessed a floodlight tower being installed outside the facility. The group also enjoyed stunning views of the river bank from the Volgograd Arena.

Members of the delegation also stopped at the terminal undergoing reconstruction at Saransk airport, as well as the brand-new Platov Airport in Rostov-on-Don. Both facilities will soon be able to welcome their first visitors, ahead of the influx of fans, teams and media in 2018.

Another important point on the itinerary was to inspect the venue-specific training sites and team base camps in almost all of the destinations. While the former are paired with the 12 stadiums and can be used for training sessions ahead of matches in the respective host cities, the latter will be chosen by the participating teams as a base at which to prepare and rest throughout the tournament, and can be located in different parts of the country.

The joint FIFA and LOC delegation comprised specialists from various fields, such as stadium design, tournament preparation and hosting, security, transport, logistics, hospitality services, broadcasting, media services, human resources, marketing and ticketing services.