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Football: FIFA urges Russia to cut two World Cup host cities

Russia's Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said Tuesday (Aug 19) that world football's ruling body FIFA has recommended reducing the number of 2018 World Cup host cities.

MOSCOW: Russia's Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said Tuesday (Aug 19) that world football's ruling body FIFA has recommended reducing the number of 2018 World Cup host cities.

"The existing conception of the 2018 World Cup provides the staging of the event at 12 stadiums in 11 cities," Mutko was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency.

The minister said that based on the experience of the World Cup in Brazil which wrapped up last month, FIFA "recommended staging the World Cup at 10 venues in nine cities".

Mutko added that he was set to visit once again all the 2018 World Cup host cities together with a FIFA inspection team, which is expected to arrive to Russia this week, before making a final decision about the number of venues.

"We'll finalise our decision taking into consideration the progress of the host cities in their World Cup preparations," the minister said.

Mutko has previously estimated that US$20 billion (S$24.8 billion) will be needed to prepare for the World Cup, with Russia having to build stadiums in six provincial cities from scratch and to renovate completely the ground in the easterly city of Yekaterinburg.