Russia 2018

FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura said on Wednesday that Russia’s staging of the 2018 World Cup had set the bar high for Qatar, the tournament’s next hosts in 2022.

“I feel for Qatar, because [Russia] has set the bar very, very high,” Samoura, referring to the next World Cup in four years’ time, said at a meeting with Valentina Matviyenko, speaker of the upper house of Russia’s parliament.

Samoura asked Matviyenko to convey to Russian President Vladimir Putin FIFA’s “profound appreciation for everything that he has done to make it possible for the world to watch the beautiful game.”

Samoura said: “I’d like to express to Russia the dear, heartfelt thanks of FIFA.”

The tournament has left visitors with good memories, Samoura said, adding that she thought the doping level has been at record lows.

Russia is hosting the tournament for the first time, in 12 stadiums spread across 11 cities including Moscow, St Petersburg and Sochi.

The final will be played at Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium on Sunday.

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