FIFA President Sepp Blatter appeared on Russian national television to name the eleven cities where the 2018 World Cup will be played.
There were 13 venues in the running, which were all visited by the FIFA inspectors during the two years after Russia won the World Cup bid.
Russia’s Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said earlier that the positions of Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Kazan and Sochi were not in question.
The other seven cities to earn the right to hold football’s biggest event are Kaliningrad, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, Volgograd, Saransk, Rostov-on-Don and Yekaterinburg.
“We are far away from our program because you are much more advanced,” Blatter is cited as saying by RIA-Novosti. “I am convinced that it will be a great success because not only the people and youth here are behind it, but also the president, the Duma, the local organizing committee, the local footballers here, all footballers – they are behind this World Cup.”
“It must be a big success,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, Krasnodar and Yaroslavl were cut from the running, giving up their dreams of seeing the World Cup stars in action.
“If a city didn’t make it to Russia’s final application for the World Cup, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t match the required level or that the organizers did their job badly,” Mutko told Sovetsky Sport newspaper. “It’ll remain in the general concept of the tournament – the teams will be stationed there or fan festivals organized. All the cities will be working for the World Cup. I urge everybody not to take the rejection as a personal insult.”
“Our aim here is to show a new country with different nationalities and cultures,” he added.
The World Cup 2018 matches will be held at 12 stadiums, with Moscow being the only city to provide two arenas.
It’s also already known that the final match of the tournament will be held in the Russian capital.
In 2010, Russia beat England and two joint bids, one from Portugal and Spain and the other from Belgium and the Netherlands, to host the tournament.
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