Kazan’s preparation for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ is ahead of schedule, according to Minister of Youth affairs and Sport of the Republic of Tatarstan Vladimir Leonov. Monday marks 500 days till the beginning of the championship in Russia.
"We are ahead of schedule," Leonov said. "We have been preparing for the championship for a while now, the stadium has already seen a lot of matches, all services are ready. The Republic’s president created a regional organising committee, which often meets and keeps an eye on the situation. Everything is going according to plan, we are just waiting when it will all start, when everyone will arrive, because we want to prove once again that Kazan is able to hold everything at the highest level, and, of course, create a football festival for everyone."
According to Leonov, the city’s priority is to hold the closest event – the Confederations Cup. "We have 500 days left until the World Cup, but the main thing now is holding the Confederations Cup. Last year we held the draw. Recently there was a big meeting with the Organising Committee and FIFA representatives in Moscow, everything went at a high level with everyone giving a positive assessment. It is now as relevant as ever for Russia to prove that it can hold any kind of event at the highest level," the minister noted.
Tatarstan’s sports minister also said that the construction of a temporary infrastructure necessary for the Confederations Cup and the World Cup has already begun near Kazan Arena. "We aren’t worried about this, we began works right after New Year," he noted. "Regarding the volunteers, we have a lot of experience with them, have determined the programme, the selection process and the training. We already worked with them at cultural events like the Confederations Cup Official Draw. But our main task is to, of course, prepare everybody for the Confederations Cup and the World Cup. Last year we launched an information campaign and, as of today, just we alone had 8,000 people from Russia and other countries express their desire to become Kazan volunteers."
The minister also said that a lot of national teams showed interest in making Kazan their base during the 2018 World Cup. "We still have quite a lot of people coming in," he said. "It so happened that after the Confederations Cup draw lots of teams came here, visited our bases. There is a lot of interest because of our good infrastructure, the conditions, the proximity to other host cities. Over ten national teams, some of which are the world’s leading football squads, are interested in Kazan as a potential base."