President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, it gives me great pleasure to welcome you to St Petersburg.
We see what is happening around football, and I know what you think about it. We are grateful to you for focusing your time and attention primarily on the sport. We are very happy to welcome here not only a representative FIFA delegation, but also our colleagues from many different countries.
I know that a great deal of work is underway to prepare for the World Cup. I am very happy to have this opportunity to tell you what Russia is doing to prepare for the 2018 World Cup and to give your colleagues from the national federations an idea of what we are doing to ensure the highest possible level of this grand-scale international sports event.
We are very happy to see you. Welcome!
Joseph Blatter (retranslated): Mr President, I am very happy to be here today and to meet with you. It is a great honour for me to have this meeting.
Mr President, I would like to assure you that we have come here with representatives of delegations from national federations, and our executive committee is here in full. I want to tell you that the executive committee has recently passed a new resolution, in which FIFA assures the Russian Federation of its full support for the project to hold the 2018 World Cup in Russia. We have complete trust in Russia and the Russian leadership. This resolution was passed at a meeting attended by Mr Mutko.
FIFA is confident that Russia will host the World Cup with success. We are saying ‘yes’ to Russia and assuring you of our support. This is especially important in the current geopolitical situation. We must speak not only of our desire to make the world a better place; we also want to do something tangible to support peace, to support the development of football.
I want to thank you, Mr President, thank the Russian Federation and the Russian people, who by right can be proud of you and of the opportunity to host the 2018 World Cup.
The event we have come together for here in St Petersburg is very important, as today we will hold the preliminary draw among 183 national teams that are to compete for a place among the 31 states that, together with Russia, will be taking part in the 2018 World Cup games.
Vladimir Putin: Mr President, just as I promised, we will do everything in our power to make sure that both athletes and fans in this country and the world over feel at home if they come here, and feel part of the grand international sports festival as they watch it on television.