Moscow - The 2018 World Cup in Russia could serve as a
catalyst for political reconciliation and help ease global tensions, Russian
sports minister Vitaly Mutko said on Wednesday.
"Hopefully, it will become a kind of a conciliating
event, which will show the world that Russia is an open-hearted, democratic and
hospitable country with a rich history and culture," Mutko told R-sport
"It will be a great occasion not only for Russia but
for the entire football world," Mutko said.
Relations between Russia and the West have been tense since
the annexation of Crimea in March last year and an ensuing conflict in Ukraine
that has claimed more than 8,000 lives.
There is also bitterness amongst other 2018 candidates over
allegations Russia was awarded the rights to host the World Cup after a deal
with FIFA was apparently agreed in advance.
Also read: Russia to strengthen 2018 World Cup security
Russia's cold war rivals Britain are angry with the 2018
World Cup going to Russia while the United States are also uncomfortable with
the 2022 World Cup going to Qatar.
Mutko also said Russia was fulfilling its commitments
towards FIFA deadlines on World Cup infrastructure perpetrations despite the
"We're doing our best to develop our facilities and to
urge the development of football in the country," he said.
"I don't see any really outstanding problems.
"Despite the complicated economic situation we have
managed to keep to our World Cup investment budget. It will help Russia to
fulfil all of its obligations in full."
FIFA has approved 62 of the 64 training bases to be used by
teams' for accommodation and practice during the tournament, Mutko confirmed.
He also revealed that representatives of certain teams had
already visited some of the bases first presented at the preliminary draw
ceremony earlier this year.
"The representatives of Germany, Netherlands, England,
Brazil, USA, Mexico and some other event favourites have already visited the
training bases this year and gave them a positive rating," the minister
The 2018 World Cup will take place at 12 venues across
Russia betwwen June 14 - July 15 2018.For
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