Rubin’s comeback to Kazan Arena and three months till Confederations Cup. What FIFA inspectors did

Rubin’s comeback to Kazan Arena and three months till Confederations Cup. What FIFA inspectors did Photo: Dmitry Reznov

A visit of the International Football Federation and Russia-2018 Organising Committee took place at Kazan Arena on 28 February. During the programme, the joint delegation discussed the issues linked with Kazan's preparation for the 2017 Confederations Cup. Realnoe Vremya tells what issues they talked about.

Four years, one competition

During the operational visit, the FIFA delegation will be at four stadiums in four cities that will host the 2017 Confederations Cup. Unlucky Zenit-Arena in Saint Petersburg whose construction was delayed was the first destination. Probably they had more questions about this stadium because the arena has being built for 10 years. Yes, the scale of the project in Saint Petersburg is greater than in Kazan or Sochi. But this term is an unattainable luxury.

In addition, the price of Zenit-Arena's construction, which augments more and more, drives us crazy. Especially after messages about the vibrating field and leaking roof. However, after the visit to Saint Petersburg, FIFA Chief Competitions & Events Officer Colin Smith said that the commission was satisfied with the readiness of Zenit-Arena for the upcoming competition: ''It's a great pleasure for me that I don't have to wear the safety hat here anymore. Now we can talk about the football, about the field, rather than discussing the construction process. Overall we are satisfied with the job that has been done here. Although, there are some things that still need to be complete.''

Kazan became the second city of the visit. Then the FIFA commission will go to Sochi and Moscow. The delegation will acquaint with upgraded operational plans of the other 2018 WC stadiums via a virtual tour in the capital of our big homeland.

Colin Smith: ''Overall we are satisfied with the job that has been done here. Although, there are some things that still need to be complete''

Focus on operational issues

During the media scrum at Kazan Arena, Russia-2018 Organising Committee director general Aleksey Sorokin noted that the commission was focused on operational issues. At the same time, he mentioned that the visit was the only chance to up and correct all screw-ups.

''This is our last tour before the Confederations Cup, the only opportunity for all functional experts to gather and discuss the organisation of the competition. Now we are focused on operational issues. Kazan Arena is ready and is hosting Premier League and European competition matches. It is not a secret that the requirements are a bit different, they are stricter than that of Russian Championship matches. This is why there are specifics that we discuss during the visit,'' he said.

In addition, Colin Smith noted that such visits were a great opportunity to discuss questions on the organisation of the stadium's work during the competition.

Vladimir Leonov: ''We will have fantastic football. We are waiting for all people who wish to come at the arena''

''The question about Rubin's games at Kazan Arena is topical as never before''

The readiness of Kazan Arena for the Confederations Cup and Russian Football Championship matches was a topical issue, of course. Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sport of the Republic of Tatarstan Vladimir Leonov noted that in May Rubin-Kazan would play two test matches as a preparation of the stadium for the competition. And the first matches at Kazan Arena are to take place at the end of March.

''Little time left until the competition – a bit more than 100 days. The task of the fifth visit is to prepare the road map of our preparation. All remarks that were made during the previous visits disappeared. We have an accurate preparation schedule with all interested services. We will have two test matches at Kazan Arena against Ufa and CSKA in May, during which we will adapt all conditions and have the final rehearsal for the Confederations Cup. We will have fantastic football. We are lucky – one of the best teams will come to Kazan. We are waiting for all people who wish to come at the arena. We will try to do our best to make the city comfortable for those who will come to support and work.''

When will Rubin come back to Kazan Arena?

The question about Rubin's games at Kazan Arena is topical as never before. We are going to come back here at the end of March with a match against Zenith and play the rest of the matches of the season before the Confederations Cup. Nothing shows it won't happen. We will look at the situation. But we are sure that we will open the football season here with the match against Zenit.

''We don't have questions that can be impossible to solve''

Back to the readiness of the cities for the international competitions. Here we can say that Kazan is one of the most prepared Russian cities for the Confederations and World Cups. It refers to the hotels, the stadium, other infrastructure. However, Sorokin did not stress any city's readiness.

Aleksey Sorokin: ''The competitions we will have are so complicated and diverse that we don't have completely ready stadiums. Questions are everywhere. Fortunately, we don't have questions that can be impossible to solve''

''Traditionally, we don't compare the cities. There are not cities we have no questions to. This situation is impossible. The competitions we will have are so complicated and diverse that we don't have completely ready stadiums. Questions are everywhere. Fortunately, we don't have questions that can be impossible to solve. For this reason, we gather to discuss all question. As for the cities, some aspects are better in one city, others are better in another one,'' he claimed diplomatically.

The organising committee director general also noted that FIFA and Russia were in a phase when all questions needed to be solved as soon as possible. At the same time, he told what the commission did during its visits.

''The work in all cities is done according to the existing scheme: there is a plenary session with the city, FIFA representatives, contractors, all interested structures. Then a general presentation of the stadium, training sites, hotels, all preparation elements for the Confederation Cup is made. Now we are in a phase when we need to make quick solutions without leaving the city. Later we check safety, accreditation, TV transmission, etc. Everyone is responsible for a certain area.''

Not to lose face is the most important thing

Only three months left until the Confederations Cup. The final rehearsal of the World Cup, champions tournament – call it as you wish. But it will be an acid test for our country, without any doubt, for both the infrastructure and the national squad.

No one will doubt that the four cities that will host the Confederations Cup matches are one of the best Russian cities concerning their infrastructure. And they had already held big competitions. This is why here our country won't fail. But we will have to worry for Russia's national team because it either can fail or become famous.

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By Aleksandr Lushkin. Photo: Dmitry Reznov