Sunday, August 20, 2017

Russian Sports Minister names cities at bottom of list for hosting World Cup matches

Five cities have been singled out as unlikely to host 2018 World Cup in Russia matches.

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko announced that Volgograd and Rostov-on-Don are among the five, as are Yaroslavl, Kaliningrad and the central Russian city of Saransk, RIA Novosti reports.

Two of the cities will be eliminated before the final list of 11 host cities is revealed on September 29.

"It will probably be from this group that the two cities will be chosen which will not make Russia's final list," Mutko said, RIA Novosti reports.

Mutko did not explain exactly what issues made the cities inadequate and did not say he had any inside knowledge of the decision-making process, which is done by FIFA's executive committee.

Five cities were listed as "safe" by Mutko, with two others being considered "probable" to make the final list.

"There's a group of cities which are ready to host the World Cup under all five criteria. That's Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, Sochi, Yekaterinburg," Mutko said, according to RIA Novosti. "There are cities which will most likely be ready, Krasnodar and Samara."

Russia has not had a team compete in the last two World Cups, though Mutko is motivated to have Russia qualify for the Brazil 2014 games.

"It's about time it became an indignity [not to qualify]," Mutko said, RIA Novosti reports. "We should always be playing at the World Cup."

The World Cup final is set to be held in Moscow' s Luzhniki stadium, and St. Petersburg is guaranteed a semifinal.