Russia plans to host 2018 Fifa World Cup in 13 cities

Russia plans to host the 2018 Fifa World Cup in 13 cities, but the final decision would be made by Fifa, football's international governing body, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has said.

"We will not exclude any cities," Putin said during a trip to Volgograd. "And we'll for sure keep Volgograd — how can we win without Stalingrad?" The Battle of Stalingrad — as Volgograd was known during World War II — was one of the fiercest and seen as a turning point in the Soviet Army's victory over Nazi Germany on the Eastern Front.

Fifa President Sepp Blatter — who arrived in Moscow on Thursday — said a dozen cities would be the optimal number to hold the tournament. The cities in Russia's victorious bid were Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad, Kazan, Yaroslavl, Nizhny Novgorod, Saransk, Samara, Volgograd, Yekaterinburg, Rostov-on-Don, Krasnodar and Sochi. The Fifa chief's visit — which lasted less than 24 hours — included a presentation on Russia's preparations to host the 2018 World Cup and talks with the country's football authorities.

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