Russia launches FIFA bid

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Russia officially launched its bid to host the FIFA World Cup in either 2018 or 2022 on 9 October, outlining 14 prospective host cities with a total of 15 stadia.

Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, also president of the Russian Football Union (RFU), presented the bid at its official launch at GUM department store, located in Red Square at one of Moscow's most iconic buildings. The bid foresees a multi–cluster concept with a cluster in the north, centred on St Petersburg, a central cluster, focusing on Moscow, a southern cluster, centred on 2014 Winter Olympics host Sochi, and the Volga river cluster. Beyond the Ural mountains, Yekaterinburg completes the selection of host cities. Alexey Sorokin, CEO of the RFU and of the Bid Committee, said: "FIFA requirements state that the stadia (and the host cities) are to be spread across the bidding country in a reasonable manner with the purpose to represent that the competition is considered a nationwide event. Russia is the largest country on earth, spanning 11 time zones and with an area covering 17, 098, 242 sq km. For a country of this size, we have a rather compact yet diverse plan with all cities being within 2, 000km of Moscow and modern transport links between each. "The other bidders include Australia, Indonesia, Japan and England, whilst Portugal and Spain and also Belgium and the Netherlands have tabled joint bids. South Korea and Qatar will compete with the other eight bids to host the 2022 World Cup. FIFA's executive committee will vote on the 2018 and 2022 hosts in December 2010, but Mutko is hopeful a successful Russia bid would "inspire Eastern Europe". He said: "This is an important initiative, not only for football, but for the entire nation. Hosting the World Cup will have a positive impact upon many millions of Russian youth and create a legacy of sporting, economic and personal growth through football. "He added: "Russia opens up a historic choice to FIFA as it represents a host country from the former Soviet bloc to inspire Eastern Europe. It also gives the opportunity to place the 2018–22 World Cup in a country blending the best of Europe and Asia, offering fans a compelling, exciting host country that is known for its traditional hospitality. In recent years, Russia has been very much about football. Along with the Olympic Games, it is one of the most important projects in the world. To host this tournament is a great honour and responsibility. "Russia's bid will also enjoy strong support from the country's government. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told the main information programme on Channel One, 'Time', that "Russia has fully earned the right. . . to pursue the World Championship". He added that despite the global economic downturn the government would "continue everything that has been done (in football) recently. . . I mean the construction of football fields, the building of new facilities, and the creation of new athletic sections, especially for children and young adults". About The Sport Briefing This story has been reproduced with the kind permission of The Sport Briefing. The Sport Briefing is published by PA Sport and can be found at: www. thesportbriefing. comThe Sport Briefing is updated as and when news happens, from across the global business of sport. The industry's biggest stories have an accompanying email alert, and The Sport Briefing sends subscribers a daily digest to give them an easy–to–read overview of the day's main events. Contact rory. squires@thesportbriefing. com for more information.

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