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KRASNODAR, Russia, February 27 (R-Sport) - The Russian city of Krasnodar is to build a World Cup-grade soccer stadium and related infrastructure despite being rejected as a host city, and could be picked to hold games anyway, regional governor Alexander Tkachev said Wednesday.
Krasnodar was a surprise omission when the list of 11 host cities was unveiled in September, prompting protests from fans of the city’s two Russian Premier League clubs.
Since then, Tkachev has vowed to build the World Cup arena regardless, reportedly with a tournament-grade capacity of 40,000 to 50,000 seats.
“All of this will be built even before the tournament,” Tkachev said. “Until then, by the way, there are a whole six years, and something tells me that this story isn’t over yet for Krasnodar.”
The city will also build the new hotels and roads it had planned for the World Cup, he added.
Tkachev has previously said he is committed to the stadium’s construction despite it costing “vast amounts of money.”
When the final list of host cities was announced in September, FIFA president Sepp Blatter said the world governing body had not chosen the cities and suggested the decision had been left to Russian organizers.
“The final decision we made on the number of cities and stadia, but not on the actual stadia and cities,” Blatter said, and asked Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, who was also at the news conference, to explain the decision.
Mutko justified the decision by saying that the Krasnodar region was already getting the World Cup, with games held in nearby Sochi.
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