FIFA’s Secretary General Jérôme Valcke has paid his first visit to Russia since the country was awarded the right to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup™.
During his stay in Moscow, Valcke gave a keynote address at the International Football Forum. The FIFA Secretary General outlined the major objectives of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for successful hosting of the FIFA World Cup.
He stressed that most of the infrastructure upgrades must be completed two years before the tournament. The deadline for Russia is not 2018 but rather 2016, when all the major infrastructure projects have to be completed.
He said: “We are not talking just about the stadiums. It includes the roads, airports, hotels and all other rewired infrastructure to host a successful FIFA World Cup.”
Valcke touched upon the importance of the partnership with Russia: He explained: “We work closely with the LOC. It is extremely important that the 2018 FIFA World Cup has the full support of the government and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. It will be a long journey but FIFA will support Russia 1,000 percent.”
A few other sessions were dedicated to preparation for the FIFA World Cup. Alexey Sorokin, CEO of the Russian LOC, answered the questions from the national and international media. Some of the questions concerned the legacy for the FIFA World Cup.
Sorokin said: "Russia represents new horizons for FIFA. Football has to open up new frontiers, develop the game and the social life in those countries. Otherwise it would be a competition limited to five or six nations to host the tournament. The World Cup in Russia will have a greater meaning.”
Sorokin also spoke about the selection process for the FIFA World Cup's host cities: “The final decision regarding the host cities for 2018 World Cup matches will be made by FIFA no later than March 2013. All the 13 stadiums in our concept are capable of hosting the tournament. There is no reason to change the list of cities now.”
When bidding to stage the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Russia proposed a hosting concept that includes 13 cities and 16 stadiums. The cities are combined into the following geographical clusters: Central cluster - Moscow and the Moscow Region; Northern cluster - St Petersburg, Kaliningrad; Volga River cluster - Yaroslavl, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, Volgograd, Saransk; Southern cluster - Sochi, Rostov-on-Don, Krasnodar; and the stand-alone city of Yekaterinburg in the Urals.