Valcke: Government support and LOC work is amazing
© LOC

Representatives from FIFA and the Local Organising Committee of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ met in Moscow for two days of meetings. At a press conference following the FIFA/LOC Management Board meeting and the first Candidate Host City Workshop, Russia’s Minister for Sport, Vitaly Mutko and FIFA’s Secretary-General Jerome Valcke answered questions from the assembled media.

Vitaly Mutko, Russia’s Minister for Sport
For the past two days, we have had various meetings with FIFA. Today we have representatives from all of the candidate cities here for a workshop. We now need to define the next steps. A series of meetings have been held for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Law and for the authorities to implement the provided government guarantees. The aim is to leave a heritage for the regions.

Today, FIFA showed the candidate cities the impact and the legacy the World Cup in Germany and South Africa has left; the opportunities and advantages it brings for the Host Cities and what legacy it leaves both to the Cities and the regions.
In the end we will select 11 cities and 12 stadiums which will be used at the World Cup in 2018. We are happy with two stadiums in Moscow but I don’t want to isolate any city, they all have equal opportunities. They all know the process of decision-making, but maybe some cities will drop out themselves.

The seminar will last a whole day, showing each step, each obligation that the Host City has to make. We hope that they will all get back to their governors and discuss things at home, so the work will kick-off. We then are going to assess the resources of each region and city.

We would like the World Cup to be public in terms of design and construction, so that every citizen of Russia knows, what all this is costing. We have defined the requirement for every region and the future use of the stadiums. We are not going to build ‘ghost stadiums’, where stadiums will be empty after the World Cup. Next year, in August or September, the final decision will be taken and then the selected cities will receive Host City status.

Jerome Valcke, FIFA Secretary-General
We have started a real partnership with Russia for 2018. For some people it might seem too much in advance, but we’ve learned from South Africa and Brazil, that we need the time to prepare. There is lot of work and a lot of things to be done in Russia.

In these seven years, Russia will need the time to be ready for 2018. The support from the Government and the work of the LOC is amazing. We as FIFA are very happy with the level Russia has shown since they have been awarded the World Cup. We are obviously concentrating on Brazil in the coming months, but we will work closely together with the Russian LOC so that the next three years will be used very well.

For Russia it’s just the beginning of the work. For the World Cup, there is a level of requirements we have. Cities will not be automatically granted Host City status. What we are asking Russia is nothing more than we are asking Brazil or Qatar. If a city doesn’t fill the requirement, this city will not qualified. For the Final for example, you need a stadium of at least 90.000 spectators.

The process for the World Cup is always the same: You have thousands of people travelling to the country from around the world and, as Russia is in Europe, you can be sure that the Europeans fans will be coming here in 2018. You need transport, accommodation, and need to make sure the fans can follow their teams. We have six years to do so. By starting so early, we are confident Russia will be on time. Now we have to work and make it happen.