FIFA President Sepp Blatter was in attendance as the 11 Russian host cities to stage 2018 FIFA World Cup fixtures were announced on Saturday.
Blatter was flanked by Russia’s Minister for Sport and Chairman of the Russia 2018 Local Organising Committee (LOC) Vitaly Mutko at the ceremony.
Moscow, St Petersburg, Kaliningrad, Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan, Samara, Saransk, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Sochi and Ekaterinburg will all host matches during the tournament.
Two venues in Moscow – the 90,000-seat Luzhniki Stadium and a 45,000-seat arena set to built by Russian football club Spartak Moscow – will host matches, meaning a total of 12 stadiums in 11 cities will be used.
“The announcement of the host cities is the first concrete step taken in the delivery of the 2018 FIFA World Cup,” Blatter said.
“They make a decisive contribution to the success of the most popular sporting event. We look forward to a productive partnership on our road to the first FIFA World Cup in Eastern Europe.”
Blatter also spoke of his delight at how preparations for the event have gone smoothly so far.
“We are very pleased with the pace of the 2018 LOC (Local Organising Committee) from day one when they were awarded the hosting of the event in December 2010,” he said.
“Their achievements show their enthusiasm and commitment.”
Mutko hailed the naming of the host cities as an ‘important milestone’ in the build-up to the world’s biggest sporting tournament.
“The final selection of the 2018 FIFA World Cup host cities is an important milestone en route to hosting the tournament in 2018,” Mutko said.
“This decision launches the full-scale preparation for the FIFA World Cup in the 11 host cities across the country.”