FIFA President Gianni Infantino and Director General of the Local Organizing Committee "Russia-2018" Alexei Sorokin (left to right) during the inspection of reconstruction works at the Luzhniki sports arena © Sergey Fadeichev/TASS
Russia is a country with a lot of passion for football and will be able to carry out the best World Cup in history in 2018, IFA President Gianni Infantino said at a press conference in Moscow. Infantino came to Russia for the first time after his election as FIFA President.
“I am very impressed by the progress made and the transformation of this venue. It has changed a lot since the last time I was here. This will be an awe-inspiring venue for fans and players in 2018. Inside you can feel the atmosphere of football. It is great to see that outside the historic parts have been preserved, while inside it will be a state-of-the-art football venue - the right setting for the game’s most important tournament,” Infantino said.
On Russia’s capabilities
Infantino also said that work on the preparation for the championship will lead to a fantastic success. “I want to complement Minister Mutko and his team, they are doing a great job. Russia is a country with a lot of passion and the FIFA World Cup offers a great opportunity to showcase Russia to the world and that all Russians can be proud of, and even more once the FIFA World Cup has been staged,” he said.
Infantino noted that the infrastructure for the 2018 World Cup 2018 will be ready in time. “From what I have seen so far, particularly after this visit, I am even more convinced that this will be the best FIFA World Cup ever. And I have some comparisons with other competitions from my previous work. I can say that we are on track here and we have the full commitment that everything will be done in accordance with the schedule. Naturally, stadiums all need to be completed by December 2017 to allow proper testing and ensure that all will be done to stage a smooth FIFA World Cup. Everyone in Russia is conscious that there is still a lot to be done, on the construction at the stadia, on accommodation and on infrastructure. We can’t lose any days, but again from all I have experienced, I am convinced it will be a great success,” Infantino said.
On interest in Russia and its economy
FIFA President confident that the Championship will attract huge interest to Russia, which will have a positive impact on the economy. According to him, the World Cup could be beneficial to the Russian economy.
A two-day visit of FIFA President to Moscow finished on April 20. On Wednesday, he visited the Russian Federation Council during Government Hour, where Russian Sports Minister, Chairman of the Local Organizing Committee "Russia-2018" Vitaly Mutko made a presentation on the preparations for the 2018 World Cup.