On 12 April, a delegation of officials from the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ Local Organising Committee (LOC) and from FIFA itself completed the first stage of a series of inspections which form part of the process of selecting the host cities for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. This first stage involved visits to the cities of Krasnodar and Rostov-on-Don.
Heading the delegation on the LOC’s behalf was its CEO, Alexey Sorokin, while FIFA was represented by its head of department for the 2014, 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups, Jurgen Muller.
The visit to Rostov-on-Don opened with a presentation on the city’s concept for Russia 2018 and its plans to build a new airport complex.
“What FIFA showed most interest in was the construction of a new airport complex in Rostov-on-Don," explained the governor of Rostov Region, Vasily Golubev. "Their experts wanted to know whether we would complete all the work on time. We explained that a portion of the finance for the project is already in place."
"Another issue which interested FIFA was how we would keep supporters entertained between matches," Golubev continued. "I don’t mind admitting that our solution for this was a spontaneous one which we came up with in the course of a conversation. We decided we would ensure that a ticket to a World Cup match would be treated as if it were a ticket to the theatre, to a museum or to other forms of cultural recreation.”
After the presentation, the delegation set off to inspect Teatralnaya Square, a potential venue for a Russia 2018 Fan Fest. The city plans to install three large screens there, as well as two stages providing entertainment for supporters.
The final stop on the delegation’s journey was the site which has been chosen for a new 45,000-seat stadium, on the left bank of the River Don. The city’s authorities have already drawn up the legal documents required to make the land available. Construction will begin in 2013.
"Our visit to Rostov-on-Don was very fruitful. We discussed extensively all the matters that were raised by FIFA delegation. It is too premature to compare the cities and their chances to become the World Cup host cities. At the end of the inspection tour to all the candidate cities we will produce an evaluation report. The report as well as the host cities selection criteria will be the basis for the selection of the host cities," Sorokin said at the end of the visit to Rostov-on-Don.