KAZAN: Vitaly Mutko has asked world football federation FIFA to do more to promote the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia.
Mutko, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister and head of the 2018 local organising committee, was speaking ahead of the arrival in Russia of FIFA president Gianni Infantino for tomorrow’s Confederations Cup draw.
Mutko claimed the Russians had “alarming” questions to raise but “we expect questions to Russia from him [Infantino].”
News agency TASS quoted Mutko as adding: “We would like FIFA to be more active in promoting the World Cup.”
Russia has come under scrutiny over its preparations for the 2018 tournament, particularly concerning the construction of some of the stadiums.
The latest venues to hit delays are those being built in Nizhny Novgorod and Volgograd, with the Russian Government admitting they would not be completed until the first quarter of 2018 – leaving little room for leeway ahead of the summer 2018 finals. Both were scheduled originally to be finished by December 2017.
The Confederations Cup, from June 17 to July 2, will feature hosts Russia, World Cup winners Germany, along with the winners of the continental competitions.
Russia, Germany, Copa America holders Chile and UEFA European Championships victors Portugal will be in pot one for the draw.
Pot two includes 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup winners Mexico, Asian Cup champions Australia and New Zealand, winners of the Oceania Football Confederation Nations Cup. They will be joined by the winners of next year’s African Cup of Nations.