Thursday, August 17, 2017

Yekaterinburg views 2018 World Cup as development catalyst

The head of the Sverdlovsk regional government sees Yekaterinburg's consideration as a host city for the 2018 World Cup in Russia as an opportunity to grow the capital of the Urals.

A delegation of officials from FIFA and the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Local Organizing Committee visited Yekaterinburg on Monday. The delegation visited the city's Tsentralny Stadium and Istorichesky Square to determine if the city would be the right fit for the major soccer tournament, FIFA.com reports.

"For us, it's a great honor to be part of the Russian bid, and we're preparing to turn a new page in our history," Vladimir Vlasov, the head of the Sverdlovsk regional government, said, according to FIFA.com. "For a region as large and as strong as Yekaterinburg, the World Cup is an event that could rally the public and unite the business community. This tournament could make the region more attractive to investors and improve the quality of life for local people."

Yekaterinburg is the easternmost of all the cities being considered as host cities by the delegation. Alexey Sorokin, the committee's CEO, insisted that the relative remoteness would not reduce the city's chances of hosting a game.

"If this factor was so crucial as far as Yekaterinburg is concerned, then we wouldn't even have included the city in Russia's bid to host the tournament," Sorokin said, FIFA.com reports. "So the city's geographical location is not such a fundamental issue."