Police officers walk past the official mascot for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, Zabivaka during the opening of the Football Park in Rostov-on-Don. Picture by Sergey Pivovarov/Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Fifa President Gianni Infantino said during a session of the Supervisory Board of the Russia 2018 Local Organising Committee that Russia had completed preparations for the 2018 Fifa World Cup.
“The preparations for the World Cup, which is hosted by our country this year, are almost complete. Russia is ready for the tournament. A lot has been done, and here comes the most crucial stage of a detailed set-up of all mechanisms involved in the process of holding the world championship,” Putin said on Thursday during the session, held in the Russian resort city of Sochi.

In turn, Infantino congratulated all those involved in the preparation process.

“Allow me, as well, please to congratulate all of you for all the work done so far. I am involved in the organisation of major football events since around 20 years, and the level of commitment, of dedication and of professionalism that I have seen in the organisation of this World Cup is unique,” the Fifa president stressed.

According to Putin, during the tournament special attention must be paid to security issues. At the same time, Putin underlined that “the law enforcement agencies should perform all the required procedures in the most correct and delicate way, bearing in mind that for many fans around the world the championship is a big event.”

Meanwhile, Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Local Organising Committee Arkady Dvorkovich underlined that state authorities were monitoring the prices for hotel rooms that will be set during the championship.

He also noted that additional trains with free travel for fans would be made available between the busiest destinations during the 2018 Fifa World Cup.

“As it has already been stated, around 700 trains will be in service, free for those who have tickets for the matches. A total of 250 000 tickets have been allocated out of more than 400 000. We see that (passenger) capacity is approaching its limit on some routes,” Dvorkovich stated.

A total of 89% of tickets for matches of the Fifa World Cup have already been sold, according to CEO of the Local Organising Committee Alexey Sorokin.

“As of today, 2 374 000 tickets, which amount to 89% of the total number, have been sold. Russian fans have bought 46%, while foreign fans bought 54%,” Sorokin said during the session.

Putin also expressed hope that the Russian national football team will do their best and be unrelenting while competing in the upcoming championship.

“Dear colleagues, this summer Russia will welcome the best of the best, the most talented football players in the world. But, of course, Russian fans will follow the national team’s performance. We all hope that our players will do their best in the game, play at full strength and, most importantly, show strong-willed uncompromising football that is loved and appreciated by fans,” the Russian leader underlined.

Russia will host its first World Cup from June 14 to July 15. - Sputnik