MOSCOW, Dec 27 — The official opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia may take place one day prior to the inaugural match of the championship at the Dynamo Stadium in Moscow, Russia’s TASS news agency reported Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko as saying on Friday.
The minister said he recently received a letter from FIFA President Sepp Blatter in which he asks whether Russia “would like to hold the official opening ceremony one day before the first match kicks off and on the stadium,” which was not selected for the matches of the global football championship in 2018.
“We are currently studying such option. In theory, the Dynamo Stadium may be chosen as the venue,” Mutko said. “We will need to compare our plans once again, when the stadium will be put into operation.”
The opening match of the 2018 World Cup featuring hosting team Russia has been scheduled for June 14 at Moscow’s Luzhniki Arena, which together with the Otkritie Arena are the two venues out of a total of 12 across Russia selected to host the championship’s matches.
In case the Dynamo Stadium in Moscow is approved for hosting the official opening ceremony, the event will be held there on June 13.
“We have decided to consider this issue next year,” Mutko said. “It is possible that we will hold a regular [opening] ceremony right before the [opening] match, but it will be a nuisance for the teams. Moreover, it will be very hard to put up a colorful show within the pressed timeframe of 19 minutes.”
This year’s World Cup was hosted by Brazil between June 12 and July 13. The opening ceremony was staged at the Arena de Sao Paulo and was immediately followed by the championship’s inaugural match between hosts Brazil and team Croatia.
The Dynamo Stadium, which is being constructed in the Russian capital within the frames of the VTB Arena Park project, will be home for the Dynamo Moscow football club and is mooted to bear the name of world’s legendary goalkeeper Lev Yashin.
The stadium is planned to be opened in 2017 and it will have the 26,319-seat capacity. The VTB Arena Park project also envisages the construction of a universal arena near the stadium for hosting ice hockey and basketball matches as well as concerts and other entertainment events. The arena will have the capacity of 11,000-14,000 seats.
Russia won the bid to host the football competition four years ago in a tight race against a joint challenge from England, Portugal and Spain and the combined bid by Belgium and The Netherlands.
Shortly before Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro dropped the curtains on the 2014 World Cup with the final Germany-Argentina clash in July, the baton of global football tournament’s hosting nations passed to Russia.
The symbolic handover ceremony of the right to host the competition was held at the iconic 74,700-seat Maracana Stadium in Rio, attended by FIFA President Blatter, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.
Russia selected 11 host cities to be the venues for the matches of the 2018 World Cup namely Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.
The matches of the 2018 World Cup will be held between June 14 and July 15 at 12 stadiums located in the 11 mentioned above cities across Russia. Two of the stadiums are located in the Russian capital.