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SBD Global/July 15, 2014/World Cup

Russian President Vladimir Putin Takes Baton As Country Prepares To Host 2018 World Cup

Russian President Vladimir Putin has vowed "an unforgettable football feast" when his country hosts the 2018 World Cup, according to the AFP. The cup is Russia's "most ambitious project since the fall of the Soviet Union." But Putin "is confident." Putin: "We will do all we can to organize the event on the highest level." Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko initially estimated the total cost of the 2018 World Cup at 680B rubles ($21B), saying half will "come from private investment and half from eight regional budgets." Matches will be played in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Yekaterinburg, Kaliningrad, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, Saransk, ­Rostov-on-Don and Volgograd (AFP, 7/15). In London, Shaun Walker reported the buildup to Russia's first World Cup is "likely to bring all the excitement and controversy that usually come with such tournaments." Set to be the "most expensive World Cup ever, the majority of stadiums will have to be built from scratch, and sweeping infrastructure improvements have been promised to allow fans to move between cities." Nevertheless, there will be "plenty of logistical problems when it comes to travelling between the cities." Russia's train network is "impressive but hardly fast: getting from Moscow to Yekaterinburg, for example, takes 24 hours." Flying is "not the terrifying experience it once was, with more modern aeroplanes and better service, but is still likely to present a logistical and financial challenge to fans" (GUARDIAN, 7/14).

POSTERS RELEASED: In London, Anthony Hay reported the 2018 World Cup organizers "released 11 posters as they prepare to host the competition for the very first time." They have created 11 posters to "publicise the Russian cities which will be hosting the tournament in four years' time" (DAILY MAIL, 7/14).
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