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7 of April, 14:55

Russia ready to spend $10 bln on World Cup 2018 preparations
Russia is prepared to spend $10 billion on upgrading its infrastructure if it is awarded the World Cup by FIFA, the Sovetski Sport paper said on Tuesday.

Russia`s bid to hold either the 2018 or 2022 World Cup is to be discussed at a government meeting on April 9, the paper reported. Russian soccer chief and minister for sport Vitali Mutko is set to personally deliver the application report at the meeting.

The paper said that Russian soccer`s governing body, the Russian Football Union (RFU), planned to focus on the 2018 World Cup as this tournament was most likely to be awarded to a European nation. The 2010 World Cup is to be held in South Africa and the 2014 competition in Brazil.

Mutko is expected to argue that hosting the World Cup would act as a catalyst for the development of the transport network and accommodation facilities in the Russian regions, and would also boost the country`s tourist potential.

Of the $10 billion to be spent on the tournament, just over $1 billion would go on the construction and reconstruction of stadiums. The remaining money would be spent on general infrastructure upgrades.

RFU general director Alexei Sorokin earlier told Sovetski Sport that he believed the 2018 World Cup was a "unique chance for Russia."

"Our advantage as far as our World Cup bid goes is partly supported by the fact that we basing it on the regions," he told the paper.

He also dismissed claims that the current global economic crisis, which has hit Russia hard, would make a successful bid impossible, saying that the crisis would have ended by the time the World Cup came around.

A minimum of twelve 40,000 capacity stadiums are needed to host the tournament, with the final to take place in a stadium seating no less than 80,000. Five stadiums, according to Mutko`s report, will be ready by 2013 - two in Moscow, one in St. Petersburg and one apiece in Sochi, due to host the 2014 Winter Olympics, as well as Kazan.

Australia, Belgium and the Netherlands, England, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Spain and Portugal, and the United States have submitted bids for both competitions, while South Korea and Qatar have submitted bids for the 2022 World Cup, FIFA earlier said on its official website.

Russia`s main rival for the right to hold the 2018 competition is likely to be England, which has not hosted the World Cup since 1966. Russia`s bid may have been damaged by problems encountered by Euro 2012 joint hosts Poland and Ukraine in their preparations for the competition. Euro 2012 is the first time a major soccer tournament has been awarded to Eastern European nations.

The host countries for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups will be announced by FIFA in December 2010. Under FIFA`s new rotation rules, the same continent can not host two World Cups in a row, meaning that if England were awarded the 2018 tournament then Russia would be unable to apply to hold the 2022 competition.

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