With four months to go before the football World Cup, both Russia and FIFA want toavoid any surprises. Hence the meeting on Feb.12 between Russian President VladimirPutin and FIFA President Gianni Infantino at the Kremlin to discuss World Cuppreparations.
The talks were initially scheduled to take place at Putin's residence in the Black Searesort of Sochi. However, Russia's president stayed in the capital following Sunday's plane crash near Moscow which killed all 71 people. Russian news agencies saidInfantino offered his condolences to Putin over the tragedy.
This is the first meeting between Infantino and Putin since Vitaly Mutko decided lastDecember to step down as president of the World Cup Host Organizing Committee.
Mutko resigned under pressure after being cited numerous times in the doping scandalthat has permeated Russian sport. He was also Putin's Deputy Prime Minister and Sports Minister.
Mutko has also been banned for life by the International Olympic Committee for hisrole in the doping scandal. His current replacement as the head of the Russian WorldCup is Alexei Sorokin, Mutko's right-hand for years.
The FIFA World Cup will take place between June 14 and July15 across 11 cities in Russia. For the event, the host country has allocated 11 billion dollars to modernize itsstadia and infrastructure. On a trip to Vietnam last week, Infantino said that “we’ll experience the best World Cup ever this summer in Russia.”