An inspection visit to Volgograd, headed by the Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Vitaly Mutko, allowed the city to showcase key preparations for the upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™. CEO of the Russia 2018 Organizing Committee Alexey Sorokin also took park in this visit.

The first stop on the tour was the Volgograd International Airport, the arrival point for all travelling fans. The airport will start operating at full capacity in April 2018, the expected completion date of the new domestic flight terminal, which will boost capacity to a minimum of 1,450 passengers per hour in line with FIFA requirements. Additionally, reconstruction of the existing domestic flight terminal is in full swing, with a bus station and air shuttle terminal opening there in February 2018. “All work will be completed on time,” assured Andrey Bocharov, Governor of the Volgograd Region.

Another important piece of transportation infrastructure to be completed in 2018 is the belt road, which will run along the Volga shoreline, connecting every city district. In addition to reducing congestion in the city centre, the road has other advantages for locals and visitors alike. These include the provision of a city beach accessible to all during Russia 2018. “Volgograd is a city on the Volga and it is therefore essential that infrastructure allows people to access the river,” said Vitaly Mutko. “That’s the point of the belt road.”

The new route will provide easy access to any district and the city’s main sporting venue, the Volgograd Arena - a 45,000-seater stadium, to be completed at the end of this year. With the most challenging phase of construction already completed, the arena is currently undergoing internal developments, while preparations for laying the pitch are ongoing. According to Mutko, the stadium is 70 per cent ready and will be finished within five-to-six months. This will allow local fans to watch top level football as early as the start of 2018. As well as practice games, the final of the Russian Cup will be held here. “It’s not impossible that the national team will play here too, either the seniors or youth teams,” added Mutko.

Volgograd is one of the 11 locations for Russia 2018 games, with four group-stage matches allocated to the city. Within the Volgograd region, the Team Base Camps are also being prepared and are available for selection of the national teams participating in the 2018 FIFA World Cup.