FIFA Secretary General praises Russia’s commitment to football

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Moscow, April 25 (IANS) Russias authorities have shown a strong commitment as far as preparations for the 2018 Football World Cup go, world football governing body FIFA’s Secretary General Fatma Samoura said.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has said on many occasions that Russia is able to carry out the best World Cup in history, reports Tass news agency.

“I totally agree with him. If you would ask me why, I will tell you that first, it is because of a strong commitment from the authorities here,” Samoura told Tass on Monday.

“From the 11 hosting cities, from the LOC, from the government, from FIFA. We have really good relationship. We want this to be the number one World Cup, because Russia is a great nation and also because Russia will be hosting one of the most beautiful games in the world,” she pointed out.

The FIFA Secretary General also felt that football can be a healing touch for people dealing with all the problems and turbulances around the world.

“It is right in the middle of the period of turbulence in the world, when… people are looking forward to have some kind of relief. And definitely, the World Cup and the Confederations Cup represent good ways to really have a piece of mind,” Samoura said.

“That is why I insist on saying for people really to come to Russia to see something really fascinating, to get to know people from Russia more, to get the flavour of the cultural, also diversity, and also to be warmly welcomed,” she added.

“I just cannot wait to be here in June again and to really get the test from the capacity of this LOC, but also of the host cities to stage the World Cup.”

There is hope that a compromise will be reached with Russian TV networks on the broadcasting rights for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Samoura believes.

“It is not a secret. We are in negotiations on a day-to-day basis,” she said. “I am sure that we will find a compromise. There will be a middle ground set between the media and the TV sponsored in FIFA,” Samoura added.

“We need these revenues because it means also that we will be able to fulfill our commitment toward funding the LOC budget. But it is not for us, it is for the benefit of the game,” the FIFA Secretary General said.

The 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup will take place from June 17 to July 2. Group A will feature hosts Russia as well as New Zealand, Portugal and Mexico. Group B will include Germany, Chile, Australia and Cameroon. Matches will be played in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi and Kazan.

The FIFA World Cup will be held between June 14 and July 15, 2018, in 11 Russian cities — Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Yekaterinburg, Samara, Sochi and Rostov-on-Don.

–IANS

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