Russia budget for 2018 Fifa World Cup nearly doubles

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko (left) and Fifa president Sepp Blatter in Moscow, 30 September

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Russia has revealed that its preliminary budget for holding the 2018 World Cup is almost twice what it projected when it won the bid in 2010.

Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko announced a budget of 600bn roubles (£12bn; $19bn), nearly 40% of which will go into building or renovating stadiums.

The rest of the money will be spent on transport and hotel infrastructure.

Russia beat off rival bids from England and other EU states to host the world's highest-profile single sports event.

Mr Mutko said the costs were expected to be split evenly between the public and private sectors.

Eleven host cities have been chosen which span the European part of Russia: Moscow (with two of the 12 stadiums), St Petersburg, Sochi, Yekaterinburg, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don, Samara, Kaliningrad, Volgograd and Saransk.

Start Quote

Perhaps not now in Aleppo, but they play football in Syria”

End Quote Sepp Blatter Fifa president

Speaking at the same news conference in Moscow, Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke said that, based on the Russian bid, the quality of the stadiums would be "amazing".

Fifa president Sepp Blatter, for his part, said football was expanding all the time.

"[Can] you imagine that actually we had a representative of Syria in the Fifa committees last week and they play football in Syria?" he said in Moscow, speaking as fighting raged in Aleppo and other Syrian cities.

"Perhaps not now in Aleppo, but they play football in Syria," he said.

"Do you know that in Afghanistan they have a league playing football? Everywhere football is played. Football gives people the hope and football connects these people."

Mr Blatter stressed again that it was the first time the World Cup was coming "to the eastern part of Europe".

Russia won the 2018 bid over England and two joint bids by Portugal and Spain, and Belgium and the Netherlands.

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