President Infantino: It’s time for an incredibly entertaining spectacle

20 Aug 2021
  • 11th FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup™ kicks off in Moscow

  • FIFA President Infantino and Russian Federation President Putin address opening ceremony

  • Both Presidents hail exciting format ahead of action at Luzhniki Beach Soccer Arena

FIFA President Gianni Infantino and Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin encouraged participating teams and hailed an “incredibly entertaining spectacle” during the opening ceremony of the 11th FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup™ in Moscow.

Both Presidents reflected on the successes of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ in video addresses played in the arena and broadcast live to global audiences before the Group A match between the Football Union of Russia and USA.

“It’s now time for an incredibly entertaining spectacle, as Russia is at the heart of global attention once again,” said President Infantino.

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - AUGUST 19: Vladimir Putin, President of Russia gives a message prior the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2021 group A match between Football Union Of Russia and USA at Luzhniki Beach Soccer Stadium on January 1, 0001 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Octavio Passos - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

“This tournament has already travelled to four different continents and now, teams from the six confederations are right here in Russia, ready to put on a great show. While beach soccer is now enjoyed around the globe, it has a special place in the hearts of the Russian people: with one of the most successful teams in the sport, it has given excitement and hope to a new generation of fans.

“Thank you, dear President Putin for your leadership and personal commitment and thank you to the Football Union of Russia, to President [Alexander] Dyukov and your team for your dedication and hard work in these challenging times, to ensure this FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup will be an unforgettable event for Russia and for the world.”

President Putin expanded on those sentiments by expressing his pride at Russia having the chance to build on its record of hosting high-profile, global sporting events and aligning with FIFA’s view on the importance of health coming first in the organisation of the tournament.

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - AUGUST 19: Gianni Infantino, President of FIFA gives a message prior the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2021 group A match between Football Union Of Russia and USA at Luzhniki Beach Soccer Stadium on January 1, 0001 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Octavio Passos - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

“We very much appreciate FIFA’s decision to give Russia the opportunity to host the prestigious competition, as well as Mr Infantino’s personal attitude,” said Mr Putin.

“It is in our national character to welcome guests with hospitality and kindness. I’m sure that the Russian capital will create spectacular and fond memories for tournament participants and guests.

“As for the matches, we have taken the greatest possible care in preparing them. In addition to the traditional security measures, we have paid special attention to protecting the health of players and spectators and to minimising risks related to the pandemic. I want to ask everyone visiting the event to follow these mandatory measures.

“All of us know the importance of sports, including during this period of global hardship,” President Putin continued. “The influence of sports on the quality of life and the strengthening of friendship and cooperation between countries and their people is huge and regardless of the circumstances, sports should develop, and their accessibility should improve. It is in our common interests to create efficient and fair mechanisms of international partnership that helps us to face the challenges of today.”