MOSCOW, September 29 (RIA Novosti)
- FIFA to Announce 2018 World Cup Host Cities Live
- Russia 2018: Nizhny Novgorod Snaps Into Action
- Russia 2018: Saransk Battles for Host Status at Seminar
- Russian Exclave Confident on 2018 World Cup Chances
Two Russian cities from an initial list of 13 candidates to host the 2018 World Cup are to be dropped later Saturday as football's governing body FIFA announces the final locations for the tournament.
Russia stages the competition for the first time in 2018, and will use 12 arenas in 11 cities to do it.
Eight cities including Moscow, St. Petersburg and Sochi are all but guaranteed to remain on the list, which is to be announced live on Russian television at 21:20 local time (1720GMT).
But Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko earlier this month warned the cities of Saransk, Volgograd, Yaroslavl, Kaliningrad and Rostov-on-Don had "several problems" that may kill their bid.
Moscow should host the final at a refurbished Luzhniki Stadium, with proposed new arenas for Dynamo and Spartak hoping to share the capital's World Cup fixtures.
St. Petersburg is likely to be given a semifinal at Zenit's new stadium, which should be completed by 2014.
Sochi is expected to host games in the Fisht Olympic Stadium that will be used for the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Games.
Russia beat England and joint bids from Spain and Portugal and the Netherlands and Belgium to win right to stage the event.
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News that Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin would resign in order to run for the mayoral election in September came as quite a shock. Sobyanin’s political potential is fairly dubious, not to mention his approval ratings. He has not finished many of the projects he initiated and the electoral effect from these projects is expected to come a bit later than September 2013. Sobyanin’s opponents were not entirely unprepared for this blitzkrieg.