Russia’s early preparation for 2018 World Cup has prompted FIFA secretary general Jerome Valche to call the preparations ‘outstanding’.
The tournament is still seven years away while preparations are already ongoing with Valcke revealing that the selection of the 12 host cities would be decided by March 2013 at the latest, with detailed inspections and analysis ongoing until then.
Speaking at the ‘Russia – Country of Sports’ forum in 2018 World Cup candidate city Saransk, Valcke said: “Each city is well prepared to get started. We are working here in Russia and, together with the LOC (local organising committee); we are ahead of schedule in delivering the FIFA World Cup. I am not saying it will be all easy, but the approach and preparation of Russia is outstanding at this point of time.”
The FIFA chief also stated that sustainability will be an important feature of Russia’s legacy plans. “The key is that all of what is built will not only be used for the World Cup but beyond,” he said. “Football should be used for education. The time of white elephants is over. Sustainability is the key. I was pleased to see that Saransk – if they are chosen as a host city – plans to build a 45,000 stadium for the FIFA World Cup in such a way that it can easily be reduced to a 28,000 one after the event, because that is what the city needs.
“That is the approach the cities need to take when planning, and I have seen the Russian cities are doing exactly that.” LOC chairman and Russia’s Minister of Sports, Tourism and Youth Policy, Vitaly Mutko, added: “Stadiums are being built in Sochi, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Saransk, and Kazan. Next year we plan to design seven other arenas. In the next two to three months, a list of all the facilities needed for the World Cup will be set.”