Friday, December 15, 2017

Brazil passes hosting rights to Russia in FIFA hand-off ceremony

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff symbolically passed along the hosting rights for the FIFA 2018 World Cup to Russian President Vladimir Putin in a hand-off ceremony held earlier this month.

The ceremony was held in Brazil's Marcana Stadium moments before the final Germany-Argentina game in Rio De Janeiro, RT.com reports.

"Brazil is very proud for once again having staged the biggest football celebration in the world," Rousseff said, according to RT.com. "In the last 30 days, the world has been connected to Brazil, celebrating goals with a lot of emotion in the 12 host cities and making this the World Cup of World Cups."

During the ceremony, FIFA President Sepp Blatter presented a signed certificate to Putin, which ceremonially marked the handover to Russia. Afterward, both Rousseff and Putin received official World Cup match balls.

"I want to congratulate president Rousseff on how the World Cup was organized," Putin said, RT.com reports.. "We will do all we can to organize the event on the highest level. Football helps to solve social problems. Our task is to create the best possible conditions for the coaches, players, experts and fans. I am grateful to President Blatter and his colleagues from FIFA for the honor to organize the World Cup. "

Current estimates indicate that the 2018 World Cup will cost Russia approximately $19.5 billion, the majority of which will be allocated for the construction of 12 stadiums and other infrastructural projects in 11 host cities: Kaliningrad, Kazan, Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don, St. Petersburg, Samara, Saransk, Sochi, Volgograd and Yekaterinburg.

"Russia plans to take the FIFA World Cup a step further in some areas," Putin said to Russian news sources prior to arriving in Brazil last week, according to RT.com. "For example, we passed a federal law, establishing a special visa regime for foreigners who help to organize the 2018 championship, and enabling not only the official participants, such as the athletes, referees, coaches and others, but also the fans to visit Russia without visas before and during the competition."