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2018 World Cup - Russia   

The 21st FIFA World Cup will be held in Russia in 2018. The successful Russian bid came after an extraordinary amount of political shuffling that saw Australia, USA and Japan pull out of contention to allow four remaining bids from UEFA affiliated nations to battle it out for the hosting rights to the tournament.

Russia eventually won the vote comfortably, beating a joint bid from Portugal and Spain, a joint bid from Belgium and the Netherlands and a doomed bid by England - who at one point were firm favourites to win the hosting rights. England dropped out in the first round with only two votes from a possible 22.

Qualification for the 2018 World Cup will get underway sometime in 2015, although qualifying details have yet to be finalised or announced. Russia will qualify automatically as hosts. Russia will also host the 2017 Confederations Cup.

Russia's bid proposes 13 host cities (currently more than FIFA's maximum), and 16 stadia, including 13 new builds, to facilitate matches at the 2018 World Cup. A budget of around $4 billion has been projected for stadium renovation. The 13 proposed host cities are Saint Petersburg, Kaliningrad, Moscow, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Yaroslavl, Samara, Volgograd, Saransk, Krasnodar, Rostov-on-Don, Sochi and Yekatarinburg.  

There have been concerns about Russia's travel infrastructure, with an extra burden expected to fall on the air and rail services. Russia is a huge nation and with so many host cities spread out across a vast area, huge investment is required to allow travelling supporters easy access to host cities and World Cup events and matches. Major upgrades to Russia's airports are expected to be undertaken in time for the 2018 tournament.

2018 World Cup tickets will likely go on public sale in 2017 with an online application process, followed by a lottery draw to determine who gets tickets. Projections for available tickets puts the number at over 3 million. Fanfests in each of the host cities are also planned during the tournament.

The 2018 World Cup is expected to take place in June and July.

A pdf file detailing FIFA's evaluation of the 2018 Russia World Cup bid is available here

 

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