Russia 2018: Putin applauds FIFA for keeping politics out of sport

Russian President, Vladimir Putin on Wednesday thanked Gianni
Infantino, FIFA president and the football community, for keeping
politics out of the sport.

Putin mentioned this while welcoming delegates from more than 200
countries at the FIFA Congress at Moscow's Expocentre.

Putin also applauded the organisers of the event for the joint effort
"as one big team" towards staging the 32-team event in 11 Russian
cities until July 15.

Russia will host the World Cup tournament from June 14 to July 15 in
12 stadia spread across cities including Moscow, St Petersburg and
Sochi.

He said, "I wanted to underline FIFA's commitment to the principle of
sports without politics," Putin said during a FIFA Congress in Moscow
while standing next to the World Cup trophy.

"Our country is prepared to host the World Cup. All should feel the
hospitality and the welcoming nature of our nation, with its unique
culture and nature,'' Putin said.

"The World Cup is of great significance for our country. Tomorrow this
dream comes true."

"Together we have done everything in our power to make the tournament
a top-notch event, be it for a player, a fan, or a fan in front of the
TV," he said.

Putin called Infantino a, "fighter" in difficult times for FIFA and
praised his commitment in fighting politics in football and corruption
as well.

The FIFA president, who had first walked off in the wrong direction to
welcome Putin, who then appeared on the other end, returned the
compliments.

"From the bottom of our hearts a big, big, big thank you to you Mr
Putin for making us really feel part of the same team," Infantino
said.

During the congress, Infantino said he expects a great tournament from
a great host, appreciating all sides involved in Russia "to celebrate
the most beautiful event the world has ever seen"

"Russia has this myth of never having been conquered. As of tomorrow
Russia will be conquered by football. From Luzhniki Stadium football
will conquer the world," Infantino said

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