KRASNODAR: Vitaly Mutko has said he is hopeful about reaching agreement shortly with FIFA on a Russian television rights deal for next month’s Confederations Cup and the 2018 World Cup writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Mutko was speaking after a meeting between President Vladimir Putin and world federation head Gianni Infantino in Krasnodar where they inspected the new academy of the local football club in a city which had been overlooked, surprisingly, as a World Cup host.

Mutko, who heads the World Cup local organising committee and the Russian football federation, said: “The meeting discussed preparations for Russia’s staging of the World Cup and FIFA gave the preparations high praise. They are satisfied with the responsible in which we are implementing this project.

“Also discussed was the issue of television rights. We have discussed our concerns and we will solve the issue in the near future, hopefully in time for the Confederations Cup, and certainly for the World Cup.”

First Channel, VGTRK and Match TV have refused to accede to FIFA’s financial demands.

Valuation gap

In late March Pyotr Makarenko, the ceo of Telesport, said that the Russian TV channels had offered $30m, far below FIFA’s demand for  $120m.

Russian TV paid $32m for rights for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

The Confederations Cup is being staged between June 17 and July 2 in Moscow, St Petersburg, Kazan and Sochi.

A successful staging of the World Cup is politically important for Russia after the geopolitical crises over its annexation of Crimea and military intervention in eastern Ukraine as well as – in sports – the doping scandal.

Putin told Infantino: “For the Confederations Cup and the World Cup we are paying a great deal of attention to our foreign guests.

“We are going to do everything in our power to ensure that the facilities, the accommodation, the condition of stadiums in Russia, the services that are going to be provided to the athletes, to the fans and to everyone else are at the highest level possible.”