ST. PETERSBURG, January 20 (RIA Novosti)
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Russia is better prepared now for the 2018 World Cup than Brazil is for the tournament just two years away, FIFA president Sepp Blatter said Friday.
"The tournament organization in Brazil is not as good as in Russia, even though there is little more than two years left until the Brazil World Cup, and until the Russian one, more than six years," Blatter said at centenary celebrations of the Russian Football Union in St. Petersburg.
"Brazil has so many problems, but with Russia everything will be wonderful," Blatter said.
FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke on Thursday blasted Brazil's approach to organizing the event, saying "there is not a single stadium ready today."
Games will be played in 12 venues across the sprawling country, with the final in the iconic Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro.
Travel and legal concerns also plague the run-up to football's biggest tournament in its most successful nation.
In contrast with Brazil, Russia has time, money and total governmental support on its side.
The country is building or refurbishing more than a dozen stadiums in preparation for the 2018 World Cup, which is to be held in 11 cities mainly in the country's European territory.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Thursday that the government is mulling free travel passes for fans for the duration of the tournament, and that national air carriers Aeroflot and Transaero could ferry home fans around the venues for free.
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