The 11 host cities for the 2018 World Cup in Russia have been announced. The 64 matches in the tournament will be staged at 12 different stadiums with Moscow being the only city with two venues selected – those of Luzhniki Stadium, which hosted the 2008 Champions League final, and the Spartak Stadium.
The other cities announced at a ceremony on Saturday night were Sochi, which will stage the 2014 Winter Olympics, Saint Petersburg, Kaliningrad, Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan, Samara, Saransk, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don and Ekaterinburg. Of the 13 cities bidding for matches, Yaroslavl and Krasnodar were the ones to miss out.
The Fifa president, Sepp Blatter, said: “The announcement of the host cities is the first concrete step taken in the delivery of the 2018 Fifa World Cup. They make a decisive contribution to the success of the most popular sporting event. We look forward to a productive partnership on our road to the first Fifa World Cup in Eastern Europe.”
He added: “We are very pleased with the pace of the 2018 LOC [Local Organising Committee] from day one when they were awarded the hosting of the event in December 2010. Their achievements show their enthusiasm and commitment.”
Vitaly Mutko, the Russian minister of sport and chairman of the Russia 2018 LOC, said: “The final selection of the 2018 Fifa World Cup host cities is an important milestone en route to hosting the tournament in 2018. This decision launches the full-scale preparation for the Fifa World Cup in the 11 host cities across the country.”
Russia beat England and joint bids from Holland and Belgium as well as Spain and Portugal in December 2010 for the right to host the World Cup.