President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, as agreed, we are meeting ahead of the draw for the Confederations Cup. Unfortunately, I cannot attend the draw, which will take place in Kazan, but I assure you that the event has been organised very well.
One of our immediate tasks is to organise the upcoming tournaments. All the stadiums will be ready in the four cities – Moscow, St Petersburg, Sochi and Kazan, where you will hold the draw.
We are aware of problems with the Zenit Arena stadium in St Petersburg, and we only find solace in the fact that Russia is not the only country to have problems with such long-term construction projects of sports facilities. Nevertheless, it is very unpleasant.
We know about the results of our stadium’s inspections by your group and about your criticism of the sliding pitch. The construction company in charge has promised to set it straight by the end of the year. Several thousand construction workers are now busy doing this.
These are technical issues. Regarding organisation, we want to and we are doing all we can to make the Confederations Cup a memorable football event. We will keep working towards this end.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino: Spasibo. Thank you, thank you very much, Mr President. It is really a pleasure and honour for me to be here with you. I am looking very much forward to discover tonight and tomorrow a city of Russia, which I do not know yet, Kazan. I hear it is a beautiful city, very beautiful.
Vladimir Putin: Yes, very. In recent years, Kazan has changed significantly. It is a completely different city. It is both an ancient and a modern city.
Gianni Infantino: and it is also a football city.
Vladimir Putin: Yes. I laid the cornerstone of this stadium, when there was nothing there but an open field.
Gianni Infantino: So we will have a draw for the Confederations Cup there. It will be a great event. The World Cup will be an even much bigger event. I am very confident about it from the reports that I receive. And I would like to thank you personally, the government and the Russian Football Union for all the commitment and the work that you are putting in the Confederations Cup and the World Cup. I am now involved in the organisation of football events for 20 years, more or less. What I experience here in Russia in terms of commitment from everyone, from the government, at the highest level, from the Russian Union, from the population, is unprecedented. This makes me feel very confident. I am sure that we will have two beautiful summers in Russia, when we can welcome the world to discover a Russia that maybe they do not know yet.
Thank you very much.
A little present.
(Presenting the Confederations Cup official ball to the President.)
It is the official ball of the Confederations Cup, Krasava, so that you have it first.
You can start training with the Russian national team.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much.
People in our country do love football, and I strongly hope that this love will be transformed into the quality of our national team’s play.