Moscow: Russia President Vladimir Putin said that his country's hosting of the 2018 FIFA World Cup is not under threat despite western attempts to isolate Moscow.
"The only correct approach is that football and sport in general stand out of politics," Putin said Friday, reports Xinhua.
He praised FIFA for its assertiveness in that regard, also hailing its chief Joseph Blatter for permission to cut the capacity of the stadiums as venues for the games. FIFA earlier allowed Russia to decrease the number of arena seats from 45,000 to 35,000 in order to reach their 100 percent occupancy rate.
Putin added that the government has decided not to strike out any host city from the initial list of 11 across Russia.
Earlier in August, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said that about one million visitors might attend the World Cup. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev Aug 11 vowed to organise the World Cup on the same high level as the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics despite financial limitations.
The preparations for the event require the implementation of about 300 infrastructure projects in those cities as well as in 20 more cities included in the visitors' accommodation service programme. The overall cost of the World Cup is estimated at $20 billion.