Russia: Putin promises FIFA World Cup at highest level, credible FIFA Conf. Cup

Krasnodar, Russia (PANA) - Russia's preparations to host the FIFA World Cup in 2018 and the FIFA Confederations Cup in June are on track, Russian President Vladimir Putin told Gianni Infantino, the President of the world soccer governing body, FIFA, on Tuesday.

According to FIFA media channel, Russia, which has come under several rounds of Western sanctions over the annexation of Crimea and Moscow's role in Ukraine's conflict with pro-Russian separatists, has eased visa regulations for foreign soccer fans and pumped billions of dollars into stadiums, hotels and other infrastructure as the Kremlin is keen to improve Russia's image in its worst crisis with the West since the Cold War.

"With regard to the Confederations Cup and the World Cup, as you know, we pay a great deal of attention to our foreign guests, we will provide them with many places, we are also working with fans and with their associations," Putin told Infantino.

"We are going to do everything in our power to ensure that the facilities, the accommodation, the condition of stadiums in Russia, the services that are going to be provided to the athletes, to the fans and to everyone else are at the highest level possible," Putin declared.

The two men met in the southern Russian city of Krasnodar, which boasts one of the nation's most modern stadiums, belonging to the Russian Premier League club, FC Krasnodar.

Although Krasnodar will not be a venue for either of the tournaments, Infantino said the local "state-of-the-art infrastructure" was "a concrete fact proving that Russia would deliver".

"Obviously as FIFA president but more importantly also as a football fan, I really invite the whole world to come to Russia for the Confederations Cup, for the World Cup and to discover an incredible country," Infantino said.

The 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup will be the 10th FIFA Confederations Cup, a quadrennial international men's football tournament organised by FIFA, to be held from 17 June to 2 July, 2017, as a prelude to the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The matches will be played in four different stadiums across four cities: Saint Petersburg, Moscow, Kazan, and Sochi. It will be the first time Russia will host the tournament, and the third time the Confederations Cup is held in the European continent.

As hosts, Russia qualified automatically for the tournament; they will be joined by the six winners of the FIFA confederation championships and the 2014 FIFA World Cup champions, Germany.

The seven others are the reigning FIFA World Cup champions, and the six holders of the FIFA confederation championships. If any team qualifies for multiple berths (such as, if the World Cup champions also won their continental championship), the next best-placed team from their continental championship qualifies.

The final tournament will be played in two stages: a group stage and a latter knockout stage. In the group stage, each team will play three games in a group of four, with the winners and runners-up from each group advancing to the knockout stage.

In the knockout stage, the four teams will compete in single-elimination matches, beginning with the semi-finals and ending with the final match of the tournament. A third-place match will also be played between the two losing semi-finalist teams.

The defending champions, Brazil, who won the previous three Confederation Cups (2005, 2009, 2013), failed to qualify for the first time since 1995 following their loss on penalties to Paraguay in the quarter-finals of the 2015 Copa América.

2015 AFC Asian Cup winners Australia became the first team to qualify from multiple confederations, having previously represented the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) in 1997, 2001 and 2005.

The 2017 Africa Cup of Nations winning team, Cameroon, was the last qualifier with their 2–1 win against Egypt in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations final. This will be the first time in FIFA Confederations Cup history that three national teams from any single confederation (Russia, Germany and Portugal from UEFA) will participate in the tournament.
-0- PANA VAO/MA 24May2017

24 may 2017 07:03:29

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