FIFA inspect Russia's WC bid
Moscow - A delegation of FIFA inspectors arrived on Monday in Saint Petersburg to evaluate the viability of Russia's bid to host the 2018 or the 2022 World Cup.
The six-man board, led by the Chilean Football Federation President Harold Mayne-Nicholls, landed at St Petersburg's Pulkovo airport to open a round of visits to the country's proposed World Cup host cities.
They were joined by Russian Football Union (RFU) chief Sergei Fursenko and Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, who are set to present the country's bid to FIFA delegates.
Russia is the inspectors' fifth stop in their tour of nine countries that are bidding to host the 2018 or 2022 tournaments.
The FIFA delegation has already visited Japan and South Korea, Australia and have also tested the Netherlands-Belgium joint bid.
The visitors will start their inspection in St Petersburg from the construction site of the city's new arena at Krestovsky island, which is supposed to host a possible World Cup semi-final.
On Tuesday the delegation is expected to visit the country's capital Moscow to inspect the city's facilities and the event's main arena -- the five-star Luzhniki stadium, which hosted the Champions League final in 2008.
They will also attend the major presentation of the country's bid at the Russian government's reception house.
On Wednesday, the inspectors are set to visit Kazan, the hometown of Russia's reigning football champions Rubin and the southern resort city of Sochi, the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympics.
On Thursday, the FIFA inspectors will return to Moscow to hold a news conference before their departure.
Russia's bid book suggested the World Cup would be staged by 13 cities grouped into four clusters, which are situated mainly in the European part of the country.
Kaliningrad and Saint Petersburg were included into the northern cluster, while Moscow and Moscow region formed the central cluster.
Volga river cluster consists of Yaroslavl, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, Kazan, Saransk and Volgograd, while the southern cluster comprises Rostov, Krasnodar and Sochi.
Yekaterinburg city in the country's Ural region was also included into the possible host cities list.
The FIFA delegates are also expected to visit England, Spain and Portugal, who also prepared a joint bid, the United States and Qatar and will draw up reports on the feasibility of each bid.
Japan, South Korea, Australia and Qatar - all members of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) - have submitted bids for 2022 only, while the others are seeking to host either 2018 or 2022.
FIFA's 24 executives will choose the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosts on December 2 in Zurich.
FIFA have informed the RFU that its delegation visit is exclusively for the purpose of inspecting stadiums and other critical infrastructure and delegates will not be available for interview during their visit to the country.