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World Cup trophy starts tour in Moscow

Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) joins FIFA chief Gianni Infantino for the start of the World Cup trophy tour at Luzhniki stadium in Moscow, on September 9, 2017 © AFP / Mladen ANTONOV

MOSCOW, Russian Federation, Sep 9 – The World Cup trophy tour began a worldwide tour in Moscow on Saturday at a ceremony attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin and FIFA chief Gianni Infantino.

Ten months before the 2018 World Cup kicks off there, the ceremony took place at Luzhniki stadium, which has been fully renovated and will also host the final and five other matches.

The event was also attended by football stars of the past — Bebeto of Brazil and former French striker David Trezeguet.

Putin has promised that his country will complete the preparations for hosting the tournament on time.

“Everything is going according to scedule, everything is supported by the financial backing,” Putin said.

Infantino said he was confident Russia would put on a tournament to remember.

“The World Cup is the most famous sports symbol, it’s unique,” he said.

“We will tell Russia and the entire world what a competition will take place here in 2018. I’m confident that it will be a remarkable tournament.”

The FIFA boss said he was impressed with the modernisation of the Luzhniki stadium.

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“The stadium is absolutely amazing. It’s very beautiful and it has absolutely everything that a stadium of the highest class should have,” Infantino said.

The World Cup trophy will be showcased in 24 Russian cities and more than 50 countries around the globe giving fans an opportunity to see the most coveted prize in world football.

The World Cup will be played between June 14 and July 15 at 12 venues in 11 cities — Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.

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