After the announcement of the Host Cities for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, FIFA.com summarised the quotes from a press briefing held in Moscow on Sunday.
FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter
On organisation of the 2018 FIFA World Cup
We are in a comfortable situation when it comes to the organisation of the FIFA World Cup in Russia 2018, as we are one year ahead of our schedule. This is a new approach on how we organise World Cups. We can realise two things: firstly the total support from the Government and the President of the country, this is a cornerstone to organising a World Cup. Secondly, we have professionals in charge of the organisation, with Vitaly Mutko and Alexey Sorokin. We have no doubt, that it will be a great success. What I witnessed yesterday at the announcement is something new and exceptional. The reaction in the cities was great. This is football: connecting people and bringing the enthusiasm in the regions. Unfortunately, not everybody can be happy of course, but this is also football: some win, and some lose.
On the difference between World Cups
Every World Cup has its own story. It depends of the characteristic of a country, how they tackle a project on the table which is not yet realised. Korea and Japan were so eager, they could have organised two World Cups. But, unfortunately, there are nowadays some white elephants and this is not what should be left as legacy. In Africa, they were dancing for one year, just because they got the World Cup, so we had to remind them to start working. Brazil is [ranked] number six in world economies, and is a country of football. When they realised they got the World Cup, they said, that they will be ready. There were some personal issues which have been solved. Now everybody is working hand-in-hand in Brazil with one goal, to deliver a great World Cup for Brazil and the fans. Russia, they started to work so hard, that’s why they are already one year ahead. I’m happy with this country where we are now.
On fan behaviour in Russia (after a game had recently been called off after fan riots)
Football is a mirror of society. We are now in a family of 300 million people that are directly involved in our game. All 300 million cannot be angels. In this game there is passion, and passion has no limit. This is not a special characteristic of Russia. It’s a question of education, not a question of football. The clubs must play a part with educational responsibility, you cannot give all the responsibility to FIFA. If it’s a problem, it needs to be identified and eliminated.
Russian Minister of Sports and FIFA Executive Committee Member Vitaly Mutko
On the task ahead
Congratulations to the cities who have been approved. It should be a unique event with great heritage for our country. As of tomorrow we will be able to work on a concrete list with a dedicated programme. We have a lot of serious work ahead of us.
On the exclusion of Krasnodar
It’s a World Cup that will be staged in the whole of the Russian Federation. This championship should be for everyone. The decision has been taken after thoughtful consideration and after inspection visits, taking into consideration a variety of things. The championship has the wish to show the cultural diversity of the country. In 2018, everybody needs to see the new Russia in all regions. Every region should have at least one city for the World Cup. There is nothing personal in this decision, it’s based on real hard facts. It’s not a tragedy, it’s a decision based on numerical facts. Those cities will still participate in the project, for example as team base camps or where fan events will take place. We have to leave a legacy and show all the facets of our country.
On the match venues
We have put forward a proposal that the opening and the final will be played in Moscow, as well as the semi-finals in St Petersburg and Moscow, which has now to be decided by the FIFA Executive Committee.
FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke
On the stadiums
Certain stadiums will be built with a maximum capacity for the World Cup and a reduced capacity after the World Cup, which is important for us. The stadiums will be linked to the size of the cities. Most of the stadiums will live as a piece of art after the World Cup. This will be the legacy in Russia.
CEO of the LOC Alexey Sorokin
This new important phase opens new horizons for us. We now have to tackle security, accommodation and transportation. We knew we had to come up with 12 stadiums, it’s not a random decision, it was a necessity.