LOC launches Arena-2018
© LOC

The Management Board of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ Local Organising Committee (LOC) held its second meeting in Moscow on 4 April.

Taking part were the Minister of Sport, Tourism and Youth Policy, Chairman of the Management Board and Chairman of the Russia 2018 LOC, Vitaly Mutko, the CEO of the Russia 2018 LOC, Alexey Sorokin, and representatives from Russia’s Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Regional Development.

At the meeting, the members of the Management Board approved the list of criteria that will be used to select the host cities for Russia 2018. They also heard a report on the LOC’s work in 2011 and approved the organisation’s workplan and budget for 2012. The landmark event for the LOC this year is scheduled for September, when the committee will be selecting and announcing the cities which will be hosting FIFA’s showpiece event.

The Management Board also approved the charter and management structure of Arena-2018, the expert body tasked with monitoring and tracking the design and construction of the stadiums for the tournament. The organisation, founded exclusively by the Russia 2018 LOC, will monitor compliance with the schedules and deadlines governing the design, building and reconstruction of the stadiums, as well as compliance with FIFA’s requirements. In addition, Arena-2018 will be recruiting foreign experts and specialists to provide advice on the design, construction and use of the stadiums hosting the FIFA World Cup.

“We took a very close look at preparations for the 2014 tournament in Brazil, where they set up a similar organisation to monitor stadium construction deadlines. We invited experts from Brazil’s Arena over to the Russia 2018 LOC, and they outlined what this organisation could do. Drawing on their own example, they convinced us of the need to set up the same sort of structure as we prepare for Russia 2018,” Vitaly Mutko explained. Daniil Izotenkov has been appointed CEO of the new body.

As early as this December, the Russia 2018 LOC expects to draw up its programme for the building and reconstruction of the stadiums to be used at the flagship event.

The Management Board also looked at preliminary assessments of the regional infrastructure required in order to host the tournament. Experts from the Russia 2018 LOC have collated and analysed information from 13 cities on 1,252 separate facilities that could potentially be made available.

“Staging the World Cup in Russia will require considerable investment in order to develop the necessary infrastructure," stressed Vitaly Mutko. "Today we looked at the preliminary conclusions from an audit of the infrastructure for the World Cup, including the stadiums. As soon as May, at the next meeting of the Management Board, we need to complete this work and forward the results to the government for them to consider. It’s possible that as early as next year, the government will pass a special resolution naming every single facility which will need to be put in place as part of preparations for Russia 2018, as well as its source of funding, whether it be the federal budget, the regional budget or private finance.”