Russia plans to host 2018 FIFA World Cup in 13 cities
Moscow: Russia plans to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup in 13 cities, but the final decision would be made by FIFA, football`s international governing body, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has said.
"We will not exclude any cities," Putin said during a trip to Volgograd. "And we`ll for sure keep Volgograd - how can we win without Stalingrad?"
The Battle of Stalingrad - as Volgograd was known during World War II - was one of the fiercest and seen as a turning point in the Soviet army`s victory over Nazi Germany on the Eastern Front.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter - who arrived in Moscow Thursday - said a dozen cities would be the optimal number to hold the tournament.
The cities in Russia`s victorious bid were Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad, Kazan, Yaroslavl, Nizhny Novgorod, Saransk, Samara, Volgograd, Yekaterinburg, Rostov-on-Don, Krasnodar and Sochi.
The FIFA chief`s visit - which lasted less than 24 hours - included a presentation on Russia`s preparations to host the 2018 World Cup and talks with the country`s football authorities.