Council for the Development of Physical Culture and Sport

Vladimir Putin chaired a joint meeting in the Kremlin of the Council for the Development of Physical Culture and Sport and the Supervisory Board of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Organizing Committee.

Council for the Development of Physical Culture and Sport.
Council for the Development of Physical Culture and Sport.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, colleagues.

Today at the joint meeting of the Council for the Development of Physical Culture and Sport and the Supervisory Board of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Local Organizing Committee we will discuss the preparations for the World Cup. We have actually already conducted a ‘dress rehearsal,’ which was the Confederations Cup.

The International Federation, Russian and foreign journalists, fans and athletes gave positive assessments of the Confederations Cup’s organization. And once again I would like to thank all those involved in preparing for this tournament and those who worked at its facilities, especially volunteers. They were at their best as usual.

Now it is important to analyze both the positive experience of the Cup, and some of the weak points. They showed, for example, in public transport and sale of memorabilia. There were problems with providing navigation for fans and their comfort at the stadiums. All this should be fully taken into account during the preparations for the 2018 World Cup, especially because the tournament is much larger than the Confederation Cup and, accordingly, requires more attention and effective coordination of all the agencies involved.

Football fans certainly expect that the players of the Russian national team, the hosts of the championship, will play their best and give their all for every match.

Joint meeting of the Council for the Development of Physical Culture and Sport and the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Local Organising Committee’s Supervisory Board.
Joint meeting of the Council for the Development of Physical Culture and Sport and the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Local Organizing Committee’s Supervisory Board.

Colleagues, the materials prepared by the Interdepartmental Control Commission of the Council for the Development of Physical Culture and Sport reflect the full range of tasks. More than just the success of the football championship depends directly on addressing these tasks effectively. At stake is the prestige of Russia as a hospitable, open country that displays full responsibility when organizing international events. This applies, in particular, to security matters, and the necessary funding should be determined in the near future.

In addition, we need to look once again at the availability of tickets and to increase the number of cheap tickets as much as possible. Naturally, this issue must be resolved in close cooperation with FIFA and on the basis of the Confederations Cup experience.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin.
Of course, the main question today is the readiness of facilities. First, delays on the preparation schedule for the world championship are unacceptable.

We have just looked at some models and spoke with governors about the location of facilities and the shape they are in. In general, things are quite satisfactory although there are some delays. They are not critical and nothing is awful. But as always, as I have said many times and would like to repeat today, it is hardest to resolve tasks in the final stage. It is necessary to pay special attention to this because it is at the final stage that it seems like everything has been done and on time. But if the final piece is not in place, it means that we have not done everything, we have not made it on time. If we relax, we will never finish the job. It is necessary to thoroughly monitor each stage of work every day.

Second, stadiums and other facilities will be put into operation only together with landscaped adjoining areas. There should not be wastelands, puddles or landfills. Everything needs to be made comfortable and convenient for people.

Vladimir Putin at a Council for the Development of Physical Culture and Sport.
Vladimir Putin at a Council for the Development of Physical Culture and Sport.
And in conclusion, a few words on the 2018 FIFA World Cup Heritage Concept.

The main goal of holding major international events, including the Olympics or world championships, is laying the groundwork for the future: getting people, especially young people, interested in sports and healthy living, as well as efficient, long-term use of the facilities and infrastructure that have been built.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup legacy concept was adopted by the Ministry of Sport in 2015. However, it can hardly be considered exhaustive. I ask you to improve the document taking into account the positive experience of the legacy programs of the 2013 Summer Universiade in Kazan and the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and to approve it at the Government level. It must include measures to develop football in Russia in general, primarily for children and youth.

Vladimir Putin and Vitaly Mutko.
Vladimir Putin and Vitaly Mutko.
For these purposes, it makes sense to use the experience of training young hockey players at Sochi's Sirius center and to provide for the creation of national children's football centers in the regions that are hosting matches. The infrastructure will be ready.

Let us move on to the discussion. Mr. Kolobkov, please take the floor.

Minister of Sport Pavel Kolobkov:

Mr. President, colleagues,

Organizing and holding major international sports events is one of the most important ways to exert influence on the developments of sports.

The World Cup occupies a special place in international competitions. It lasts for one month. Thirty two teams take part in it, playing 64 matches. Over 2.5 million spectators are expected to attend. The aggregate television audience will be practically half of the world’s population.

Vladimir Putin, Vitaly Mutko and Sergei Sobyanin.
Vladimir Putin, Vitaly Mutko and Sergei Sobyanin.

At present the preparations for the World Cup are in full swing. In all, 15 federal ministries and departments, 12 host cities and 34 regions where the teams have their bases are involved. The commitments of the Russian Federation, including the Government’s guarantees to FIFA, are carried out under a special federal law on the World Cup and the program to prepare for it. Events for the tournament are also envisaged in 12 regional programs.

Russia’s Ministry of Sport is responsible for implementing and coordinating the program of preparations for the World Cup. The overall preparations are administered by the Coordinating Council headed by Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko.

The FIFA Confederations Cup, which was held this summer, was a key stage and a test of our readiness. The matches took place in Moscow, St Petersburg, Kazan and Sochi. They were attended by over 600,000 fans. The stadiums Spartak, Fisht, Kazan Arena, and Saint Petersburg were put into service for the matches, and 13 training sites with natural football turf were prepared in accordance with FIFA requirements.

Before the joint meeting of the Council for the Development of Physical Culture and Sport and the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Local Organizing Committee’s Supervisory Board, the President visited an exhibition on preparations at stadiums and airports of host cities for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Before the joint meeting of the Council for the Development of Physical Culture and Sport and the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Local Organizing Committee’s Supervisory Board, the President visited an exhibition on preparations at stadiums and airports of host cities for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Passenger transit, medical services, mobile communications and Wi-Fi, and infrastructure for television broadcasts were provided during the Confederations Cup. For the first time in the history of tournaments we offered free transit between the host cities, a video review system for referees, and passports for fans – fan IDs. The ID system is truly unique and Minister of Communications Nikolai Nikiforov can describe it in more detail.

The working group headed by Vitaly Mutko and the main and regional operational centers oversaw cooperation on a daily basis. This model proved its effectiveness and will be used at the World Cup.

The organization and holding of the Confederations Cup got high marks from FIFA, representatives of the teams and foreign media. The results of the Cup were analyzed in detail at the meeting of the Coordinating Council. As a result, instructions were given to observe the schedule for the construction of stadiums, transport and energy facilities, utility and hotel infrastructure, and others. Currently we are working on their implementation.

Vladimir Putin before the Council for the Development of Physical Culture and Sport.
Vladimir Putin before the Council for the Development of Physical Culture and Sport.
Also, taking into account the results of the Confederations Cup, it is advisable to improve Russian legislation, including the introduction of administrative penalties for illegal ticket sales and to grant the right of free travel by rail to accredited media. The experience of the Confederations Cup showed the need to take additional security measures at transport and hotel facilities to provide security services and servicing staff for these activities.

The Confederations Cup became a test tournament for the Russian national team. The current training plan was adjusted based on the analysis of our team’s performance. In the coming days, the team will hold two test matches. The coaching staff has drawn up the team roster, which includes 27 players. In the future, it will certainly be adjusted.

The national team trains at the Novogorsk federal base. Mr President, in order to implement the program of preparations for the World Cup, the Ministry of Sport carries out constant monitoring and control over the progress of its implementation following your instructions.

Currently, the program provides for 260 facilities and activities, with 84 of them completed. Seven stadiums, 78 training grounds, 15 hotels, 31 transport facilities, 10 health facilities, 3 energy facilities and 10 utility facilities are currently being built or renovated. At 12 sites, work has fallen behind schedule at some stages. But these delays will not have a significant impact on the completion of all construction work.

Vladimir Putin greeting a girl before the Council for the Development of Physical Culture and Sport.
Vladimir Putin greeting a girl before the Council for the Development of Physical Culture and Sport.
On your instruction, facilities of the Moscow air hub and airport complexes in Kaliningrad and Saransk are under special control. We are also monitoring the preparation of the territory on Oktyabrsky Island where the stadium is located. This work is carried out under the federal targeted program for the development of the Kaliningrad Region. Additional measures have been taken at all afore-mentioned facilities and they are subjected to continuous monitoring.

Questions arising during the preparations for the World Cup are discussed in relevant ministries, at meetings of regional organizing committees, weekly sessions and off-site meetings of the Government of the Russian Federation. If need be, such questions are also discussed at meetings of the Coordinating Council.

I will describe in more detail the construction of the key facilities – stadiums. They are about to be built. For instance, in Yekaterinburg they are 85 percent ready (contractor – Sinara-Development); Rostov-on-Don 86 percent, Kaliningrad 83 percent (contractor – Crocus), Volgograd and Nizhny Novgorod 73 percent (contractor – Stroitransgaz), Saransk 67 percent, and Samara 65 percent (contractor – Kazan). There are some delays in the construction of the stadium in Samara. The contractor has been fined, the schedule for eliminating these delays has been compiled and this work is monitored on a daily basis. Today, the situation is under control and all stadiums will be put into service on time.

Mr. President, colleagues. Over 600 upgraded facilities that affect the living standards of our people will remain in the regions. These are stadiums, training grounds, transport, utility and healthcare facilities. Fulfilling your instruction, Mr President, we drafted and endorsed a concept of using the World Cup’s heritage – sports facilities. After the Cup the main task will be to make the stadiums economically efficient and multipurpose. We have also discussed the use of training grounds and determined what sports schools will be based at these facilities.

Today, considering that economically the stadiums will progress in stages, it is necessary to update the heritage concept that was approved earlier. It makes sense to allocate, starting in 2019, funds from the federal budget to maintain the stadiums in Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Saransk, Samara, Kaliningrad, Nizhny Novgorod and Yekaterinburg.

Owing to the World Cup, more people are playing football in Russia and today it is the sport with the greatest mass appeal in the country. It is the preferred sport of almost three million people.

In accordance with your instruction we have drafted and endorsed the national strategy to develop football in the Russian Federation to 2030. The strategy includes measures aimed at creating the conditions for mass involvement in football, making Russian football more competitive in the world arena, increasing spectator interest and teaching fans to behave.

From 2006 to 2015 football was developed under a subprogram that was part of a federal targeted program. We suggest adopting a decision on drafting a subprogram as part of the State Program for the Development of Physical Fitness and Sport starting in 2019 to implement the strategy and the heritage program.

Mr. President, colleagues. All our proposals are in the draft adopted following the council’s meeting. I would like to ask you to support them and give relevant instructions.

In conclusion, I would like to note that all we have done during preparations for the World Cup is our long-term investment in the country’s human capital, its future. It is very important for us to make sure that the successful hosting of the World Cup reaffirms the positive international image of Russia and facilitates the development of sports.

Thank you for your attention.

Vladimir Putin:

Thank you.

Mr. Sokolov on transport, please go ahead.

Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov:

Mr. President, colleagues.

The subprogram on construction and renovation of transportation infrastructure includes 42 measures totaling 335 billion rubles, where almost 150 billion are from extra-budgetary sources. Today 11 measures of the program have been completely implemented.

The first thing most guests and championship participants will see upon arrival in our country is, of course, its airports. Regarding airport infrastructure, seven of 28 facilities have already started operating. New terminals in St Petersburg, Samara, Volgograd and Nizhny Novgorod are welcoming passengers; Koltsovo Airport Complex in Yekaterinburg has been upgraded, and the infrastructure at Vnukovo Airport has been improved. The first start-up facility of Khrabrovo Airport in Kaliningrad also opened in 2017. Improvements of airfield infrastructure will also be completed in Volgograd, Yekaterinburg and Saransk by the end of the year.

A milestone event will take place this December: the opening of the new modern Platov Airport in Rostov-on-Don. This airport will be able to receive about 5.5 million passengers per year, and the capacity during the World Cup will be 1,700 passengers per hour, which fully complies with requirements for the competition period.

Regarding construction and renovation of the street and road network, 4 of 12 measures have been completed, with two in Saransk: a highway junction and a motorway. Both objects will provide access to the airport in the Republic of Mordovia. The motorway from Kaliningrad to the Polish border has been renovated. A main road providing access to the stadium has been constructed in Rostov-on-Don. Also, a junction was opened at the intersection of Pulkovskoye Motorway and Dunaisky Prospekt before the Confederations Cup in St Petersburg; it provides easy access to Pulkovo Airport.

In two host cities – St Petersburg and Nizhny Novgorod – new metro stations are under construction in walking distance from stadiums. Tunneling work has been completed in both cities. And in general, there is no doubt that the transport infrastructure is ready for the championship.

The main document specifying all parameters of transport servicing of tournaments is the Strategy adopted by directive of the Russian Government. The Strategy determines key indicators that should be fully achieved by all participants and interested agencies. One of the key elements of the Strategy is creating the Federal Center for Passenger Transport Management. During the Confederations Cup, this center showed its effectiveness in organizing transportation and solving common problems. During the World Cup, it will be integrated into the main operational center, which will help us effectively address all transport tasks.

According to the Government’s guarantee, the Ministry of Transport implements measures to grant the right of free travel to spectators between the host cities. During the Confederations Cup, this guarantee was successfully implemented; free rail travel between the host cities was available to all spectators. More than 52,000 spectators took advantage of free trains; there were 262 free trains in total. The passengers included almost 5,000 foreign citizens from 100 countries. The number of foreign spectators will certainly increase during the World Cup, so Russian Railways is training staff fluent in English.

In order to make it easier for fans to get to the Cup sites, we plan to add extra stops of free trains in large Russian cities. Booking seats in free trains will be possible from the date of registration of a fan ID. On this issue, we closely cooperate with the Ministry of Communications and Mass Media.

In total, 576 additional trains with a total capacity of more than 330,000 seats will be provided to transport fans and accredited journalists during the World Cup. For this, we plan to reserve about 3 billion rubles in the draft law on the federal budget for next year.

In conclusion, I would like to stress that the transport complex will certainly cope with the transport needs of guests and participants of the World Cup.

Thank you for your attention.

As for measures in 2018, we will have to put in place fixed-line communications service with a throughput capacity of 240 GB per second. This will be the first time in history that we will broadcast in ultrahigh definition. The technology will be used for the first time in FIFA to broadcast all matches. Professional radio communications service will be available to as many as 11,000 subscribers, we will use 13 ground satellite stations and arrange for remote interpretation into nine languages, video conferencing and so on.

Under the approved work schedule we have the following milestones: in December 2017 we will provide telecommunications services during the final drawing; from March through May, the telecommunications infrastructure will be assembled and tested; and beginning in May, we will be fully prepared to provide services.

The fan ID is really a unique project. Again, this is the first system of its kind in the world, allowing us to check every visitor well ahead of the event and reduce the burden on those who check fans entering a sporting facility.

Mr. President, you might remember how much time it took us to persuade our colleagues to guarantee the operational capacity of this system and now we can say confidently that, judging by the Confederations Cup, the system did not fail us.

So far, 480,000 applications for fan IDs have been submitted, of which 90 percent were received from Russian nationals. I would single out Chile, Mexico, Germany and the United States among the countries where people are particularly interested in receiving fan IDs. We have opened 11 centers issuing fan IDs. In addition, we have set up special stands near stadiums and airports. It took a person between six and eight minutes on average to get registered at a fan ID center. The procedure for obtaining a fan ID itself took up to three minutes. Russian post has delivered 6,000 fan IDs to our foreign guests and 25,000 fan IDs to Russian citizens.

The fan ID received a positive response from the public. We have identified 1.5 million photographs of people holding fan IDs on the internet. Judging by their reactions, they like it.

I would like to thank my colleagues and the task force, which was led and overseen by Mr. Mutko personally, my colleagues from the Ministry of Sport, the Federal Security Service, the Foreign Ministry, the Interior Ministry and the Ministry of Transport for the smooth coordination of our efforts, thanks to which we have managed to carry out this unique project.

What are our plans for 2018? In October 2017 we open online registration for fan IDs for 2018 spectators and will issue the first IDs in December. In the first quarter of next year we will open 30 stationary fan ID centers and up to 100 additional centers in the future near stadiums and other facilities where it will be convenient for visitors to get them. In all, we plan to issue up to three million fan IDs for the World Cup.

Thank you for your attention.

Vladimir Putin:

Thank you.

The World Cup Organizing Committee. Mr. Sorokin, go ahead please.

CEO of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Local Organizing Committee Alexei Sorokin:

Mr. President, colleagues.

The World Cup is a global football festival that millions of fans all over the world are looking forward to. For us, the organizers, it involves concrete tasks and areas of work. In fact, our work is to provide services for the FIFA client groups. These are teams, referees, the FIFA family, partners and sponsors, broadcasters and journalists, and, of course, spectators.

FIFA highly praised the Confederations Cup that was held in Russia in summer. The main thing for us is that it was a good test of our capabilities. Now we better understand how exactly we want to hold the World Cup.

Now I would like to describe the main areas of our activities. Organizing competitions is one of the most important tasks for our committee. Two weeks prior to the World Cup the committee will assume operational administration of all sports infrastructure involved in it. We will provide sports equipment for training sessions and matches. We are training stewards, volunteers and other personnel for the World Cup.

As it was said, 32 teams will take part but we could call the corps of FIFA referees the 33rd team.

In all, every team will receive three pre-match training sites (36 in all) and choose one of 67 training grounds that are located not only in the host cities but throughout the entire European part of Russia.

We started working with international federations approximately two years ago. Our cooperation is focused on organizing inspection visits to choose training camps for the teams. In all, 28 football federations have visited us over this period of time.

The tournament table will be finalized after the draw procedure, which will be held on December 1 in the Grand Kremlin Palace. We will know then in which cities the teams will play and against whom. Today we know eight teams out of the 32 that will take part in the tournament. On November 15, after the playoffs, we will know all the teams that will play in the finals.

The organization of transport by plane and rail is a major element of our obligations. Each client group will receive a package of transport services. In particular, during the World Cup we will provide some 260 flights for the participating teams. Overall, we will make use of 1,254 cars and 685 buses.

The accommodation of client groups is important as well. The FIFA client groups will stay in 40,000 rooms in over 400 three-, four- and five-star hotels. We have booked 80 percent of the rooms. The FIFA headquarters will be at the Radisson Royal Hotel, formerly the Ukraine, in Moscow.

Regarding security, the Organizing Committee has drafted and approved all the necessary documents. We will choose and train over 16,500 ticket collectors/administrators under a special program. In addition, we will hire 14,500 guards from private security companies. We will work in close coordination with the Russian National Guard and other security and law enforcement agencies.

Healthcare is an important component of any sports event. At this stage, we are preparing the necessary healthcare infrastructure. Ultimately, we will have 180 well equipped medical stations at the game facilities and will use the services of 300 mobile ambulance teams.

Volunteers are a hallmark of the World Cup. We have established 15 centers at universities to select and train volunteers. They have been operating for some time now. We have received a record number of applications: 176,000 from 190 countries. There are about 116 people competing for each opening in some areas, mostly positions to work with the teams. Foreigners make up 27 percent of the applicants. In all, we will have 15,000 Organizing Committee volunteers and over 15,000 city volunteers.

FIFA fan festivals will be a major part of the World Cup. They will be held in all eleven host cities. In Brazil, over 5 million people attended these festivals. There will be central sites in all the cities where matches will be streamed on large screens. Admission to these festivals will be free.

One more vital facility and element of the tournament is the 2018 World Cup International Broadcast Center, which will broadcast the matches around the world. It will be headquartered at Crocus Expo Center. The installation of its temporary infrastructure will begin on December 1. It will be financed by the city of Moscow. We express our gratitude to Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin for this.

In addition, the Organizing Committee is implementing a promotional campaign. The current stage began in September, when FIFA President Gianni Infantino and you, Mr President, launched the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour. At this point, the World Cup Trophy has toured Krasnoyarsk, Omsk, Chelyabinsk and Ufa. In all, it will be taken to 24 Russian cities.

The official World Cup poster will be presented by the end of 2017, and the tournament’s official ball will be presented before the official draw. Football Park will be organized for the duration of the tournament in Red Square; it will be a major part of the cup matches. In addition, visitors from Russia and other countries will be able to make use of the official information and tourist website, Welcome2018, which became available in five languages in September.

Tickets to World Cup matches will be the exclusive prerogative of FIFA. Ticket sales began on September 14. In all, FIFA will sell 2.6 million tickets in four price categories. Tickets in the fourth, least expensive category will be available only to Russian citizens. We continue working with FIFA to increase the quota for this category. Letters to this effect have been sent to the FIFA administration on behalf of the Organizing Committee Chairperson.

The first two weeks of ticket sales were quite strong: 1.3 million applications for ticket purchases have been submitted. The most active foreign fans in this respect are in Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and the United States. They have submitted 175,000 applications.

In conclusion, I would like to say that we regularly hold inspection tours with FIFA experts. The sixth and last but one official inspection tour is currently underway. FIFA experts assess the preparedness of the stadiums and other basic facilities. They have inspected Yekaterinburg, Samara, Saransk, Nizhny Novgorod and Rostov-on-Don. Today they are in Volgograd, and tomorrow they will go to Kaliningrad. Overall, FIFA has a positive view of the preparation standards in the World Cup host cities.

This concludes my report. Thank you.

Vladimir Putin:

Thank you.

Colleagues, do you have any ideas, proposals or criticisms? Please speak up, if there are any.

Kaliningrad Region Governor Anton Alikhanov:

Mr. President, colleagues,

The Minister of Sport mentioned this. We are grateful to the Organizing Committee and other agencies for their efforts because for the host cities the World Cup is a great festival and also an opportunity to inherit development, specifically new roads and infrastructure, primarily the sports facilities. The World Cup match stadiums are important economic facilities, which should be used on the proper economic trajectory so as to pay back the money spent on them.

I have a request, which the other regions hosting the World Cup will surely be interested in, for the federal authorities to subsidize the operation of these facilities and our spending on this infrastructure for the next few years, until we learn to use the stadiums effectively. It will be rather difficult for Kaliningrad, which does not have a team in the Russian Football Premier League, to make use of a stadium with 35,000 seats. Mr. Putin, we ask you to instruct the Government to analyze the possibility of helping the regions, even if not all of them, by subsidizing this spending with money from the federal budget and the Ministry of Sport.

Thank you.

Vladimir Putin:

We will think about this.

Any more questions or proposals?

Mr. Fursenko, please.

Zenit Football Club President Sergei Fursenko:

Mr. President, colleagues,

I would like to agree with the question Mr. Alikhanov asked. It is hard to overestimate what has been done with the football infrastructure. A football revolution has taken place in Russia, which follows on the heels of an ice-hockey revolution. Modern stadiums and training facilities have been built. This infrastructure can only be brought to life by elegant and exciting football. A team must aggressively attack an adversary’s goal; for spectators, the beauty of football is sometimes more important than the result.

Playing spectacular football, Zenit (St. Petersburg) has attracted a large number of fans to the stadiums and is bringing in up to 50,000 people per game. Interestingly, totally different people have been coming to the new stadium. The type of fan has changed dramatically: families with children, even very small children, are coming.

Young people are more into football too. But people should have easy access to the games, which is why St Petersburg is attracting spectators with quality play, while Gazprom subsidizes part of the ticket price. I think the heads of the regions could do this as well to attract more people, on the one hand, and help the clubs, on the other.

In addition, there should be allowances for paying the operating costs. Clubs must learn how to make money on their own; otherwise we will always be a financial liability for the federal or regional budgets.

And the last thing. It should be mentioned that advertisers have been more interested in football lately. If Russian football is a fascinating spectacle and our stadiums are packed to capacity, the television and other broadcast rights will be commensurate with the investments we are making now, our football will be competitive internationally, and everyone will say that football is a true Russian game.

Vladimir Putin:

Well, great, Mr. Fursenko! Football, a true Russian game! Eight foreigners on the field, playing for Zenit in the Europa League. Great! Only two citizens of the Russian Federation and a goalkeeper. This is an interesting story.

Sergei Fursenko:

Mr. President, we observe the quotas in practically every game. This was the only game with the Spanish, where more foreigners played. But we are training players, Russian players, for the World Cup, very seriously. This will pay off, you will see.

Vladimir Putin:

OK. We will see.


Rostov Region Governor Vasily Golubev:

Mr. President,

As is known, Schools in Russia can decide on the subject of the third lesson. Since last year, the third lesson in the Rostov Region has been football. Both boys and girls play football, and they like it equally well, especially at ages 10 to 13.

Mr. President, I believe that your initiative regarding children’s football centers is very timely now in the context of heritage. If such centers are created football will become even more popular and interesting and will have greater potential, which is important, at least in the World Cup host cities.

Secondly, my colleagues are worried that they will be unable to fill the stadiums after the World Cup is over. I suggest analyzing the possibility of allowing boys and girls below 12 to attend matches with adults free or on discount tickets, provided the accompanying parents present their passports. This will allow very many children to attend events at our stadiums. This is the accepted practice in Europe and the rest of the world, and it is said that it has had a positive result. We in the Rostov Region are thinking about this and will try to implement the idea after the World Cup.

Thank you.

Vladimir Putin:

Thank you very much.

Anyone else? No?

We also have a list of instructions on our agenda, and it is good that Government representatives are here because some of these instructions directly concern the Government. If you have any comments, please speak now, so nobody can say these instructions were not coordinated with them and are difficult or impossible to fulfill.

Vitaly Mutko:

If you are referring to the instructions that we approved, we have no comments. Regarding the comments you made in your opening remarks, we will review the heritage issue and specify the program with due account for what you said today about the creation and transfer of these centers, even though we plan to turn over the World Cup training camps to 50 children’s sports schools.

Again, on the issue of stadiums, the Government will analyze the possible support measures, because we will not simply turn the stadiums over for operation by the host cities. We have decided to create a management system for these stadiums based on available [international] experience, and then we will transfer the stadiums and the management concept to the cities as a kind of heritage. We will also consider support measures. In other words, we have no questions about financing or instructions.

We held a poll on the questions you outlined and also transport logistics. Indeed, the World Cup matches will complicate traffic in some cities. We will take all these matters, about which Mr. Sokolov has reported, into account. But in general, we have coordinated the draft instructions.

Vladimir Putin:

Good. This makes this draft a practical document. I hope that we will work to implement it as energetically as everything else we have done.

Thank you very much.

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