14 october, 2010 18:25  

Vladimir Putin answers journalists' questions as he wraps up his working visit to Sochi


Vladimir Putin believes Russia has a very good chance of winning the 2018 World Cup bid.

Question: You have been doing a lot to improve the country's image in sports: you helped bring the Olympics to Sochi and the arrangements to build a Formula 1 track seem to be moving in the right direction. What about the World Cup in football? What do you think about Russia's bid to host the tournament? And are you planning to be in Zurich on December 2 when the host country is selected? Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: I think that Russia's bid to host the 2018 World Cup has a very good chance of winning, considering that Russia has never hosted such an event before. And in terms of the progress of football in the world, of course, it would be the right thing to choose Russia to host the World Cup. Besides, the World Cup has never been held in Eastern Europe. And for these reasons, and for the sake of the development of the sport, of course, Russia has a very good chance.

But we have serious competition, including Portugal, Spain, Britain, and other countries. Therefore, we will certainly do the utmost to win the right to host the World Cup. But, of course, FIFA will have the final say.

As to my personal attendance of the bid selection ceremony, I can't say anything about it at this moment. The event is still quite far away and I will need to check my work schedule. But, what I can say with certainty is that we are ready to make all the necessary arrangements to build the required number of world-class sports facilities. I have no doubts about this. And regardless of whether we are given the World Cup or not, as I said earlier, we will continue developing sports and football infrastructure and building stadiums.

As for winning the bid to host the tournament, this is, again, up to FIFA to decide. In any event, Russia will be well represented in Zurich on December 2.

Question: The idea to build a Formula 1 track first came to light 10 years ago...

Vladimir Putin: 30.

Question: Even 30. But originally, it was assumed that the track would be built in Moscow. However, the deal fell through then. Do you think the idea of building a track in Moscow could be revived? Maybe the new mayor of Moscow can work on this?

Vladimir Putin: I don't think we will be building two Formula 1 tracks in Russia. We first need to complete one.

It makes sense to build the track here, since, as you know, we have to build a section of the road anyway. I am talking about the road construction project in the Imereti Valley. And in this sense, it will help make the project significantly cheaper. It is much cheaper than building the entire track from scratch in the middle of nowhere. First, it costs less, and, second, it will fit better here and allow us to fully utilise all the facilities and infrastructure created for the Olympics. So the money will not be wasted.

Question: How much is the project worth?

Vladimir Putin: This kind of commercial information is usually not revealed. Well, let's say several billion roubles.

Question: Can I ask one more question?

Vladimir Putin: Please.

Question: What do you think of the rouble's prospects and the exchange rate given the elimination of the fixed exchange rate corridor by the Bank of Russia?

Vladimir Putin: I think that the rouble is in optimal condition today. I do not expect any weakening or excessive strengthening of the rouble, which would not be helpful, either.

Remark: Thank you.