Learning Russian only problem in World Cup preparations: FIFA chief

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Zurich, March 20 (IANS) New FIFA president Gianni Infantino has said he was satisfied with the organisational preparations for the 2018 World Cup by hosts Russia but said learning Russian was the only problem worrying him ahead of the show-piece tournament.

“I am sure that in Russia we will organise together with our Russian friends the best World Cup ever,” Infantino said on Saturday, report Tass.

Infantino said he only worried if he would be able to learn the Russian language by that time, when asked about potential problems faced by him in the build up to the tournament.

“The only thing I am worried about the World Cup in Russia is if I will be able to learn Russian until the World Cup,” Infantino said.

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“It is something I would like (to do), but I am not sure if I will manage. The only thing I can say now is ‘Ya govoryu po Russki’ but that is about it,” he said adding that it means ‘I speak Russian’.”

On a serious note, Infantino said: “Of course there are a few items that need to be fine-tuned, to be looked at.

“But from what I hear, from what I have seen until now, from discussions we had with the local organising committee, and I had a private discussion with Mutko – everything is running quite well. We are very positive.:

Russia is currently in full-swing preparations for the global football championship after the country won the bid to host the 2018 World Cup at the FIFA Congress in Guatemala on December 4, 2010.

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The victory came following a tight race against the bid from England, the joint bid from Portugal and Spain and the joint bid on behalf of Belgium and the Netherlands.

The country selected 11 host cities to be venues for the matches: Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.

The matches will be held between June 14 and July 15 at 12 stadiums in the 11 cities. Two stadiums are in the Russian capital.

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