Thursday, June 21, 2018

Nizhny Novgorod prepares for 2018 World Cup

The historic Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod is updating its hotel and trasnport infrastructure in preparation for the 2018 World Cup, according to Viktor Kharitonov, the region's sports minister.

FIFA will announce which 11 cities will be hosting matches in two weeks. So far, only five population centers have been guaranteed host status by Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko. Five others have been warned as being under threat of elimination. Nizhny Novgorod was not one of those singled-out. Thirteen cities are bidding to stage matches, RIA Novosti reports.

"The regional organizing committee is doing everything necessary," Kharitonov said, according to RIA Novosti. "The site for building the stadium has been identified, a working group on hotel construction has been set up, transport infrastructure projects have been initiated."

Nizhny Novgorod lacks ready-to-go facilities, but it does have a high-speed rail link from Moscow and a population of 1.3 million.

"The choice of Nizhny Novgorod as a host city for the World Cup will be a big achievement," Kharitonov said, according to RIA Novosti.

Kharitonov will host a city-wide celebration to watch the announcement of the final list of cities.

Mutko announced last week that the cities of Saransk, Volgograd, Yaroslavl, Kaliningrad and Rostov-on-Don had "several problems" that may effect their bid.

Moscow is guaranteed a final at the iconic Luzhniki Stadium and it is likeley that St. Petersburg will host a semifinal at Zenit's new stadium. Sochi is expected to host World Cup matches following its hosting of the 2014 Olympics opening ceremony. Kazan will likely host, as well, RIA Novosti reports.