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Football | Europe

Vitaly Mutko © Action Images

Russia to drop two cities from shortlist



Russia will drop two of 13 cities bidding to stage matches for the 2018 World Cup, head of the local organising committee (LOC) Vitaly Mutko said on Tuesday.

Saransk, Volgograd, Yaroslavl, Kaliningrad and Rostov are the most under threat.

"We have completed the formal review of all the candidate cities," Mutko, who is also Russia's Sports Minster, was quoted as saying by the ministry press office.

"As of today we still have 15 stadiums located in 13 cities but we plan to use only 12 venues in 11 cities, therefore our task is to pick the two cities that must be cut."

LOC plans to announce the host cities on September 29.

Moscow will have two venues: the 90 000-seat Luzhniki stadium, which will stage the final, and another to be chosen from two 45 000-seat arenas that are being built by the Spartak and Dynamo clubs.

"We have divided all 13 cities into three categories. Moscow, St Petersburg, Kazan, Sochi and Yekaterinburg are in a group that is best suited to host the matches," Mutko said.

"We have little doubt that two cities, Krasnodar and Samara, will also be fully prepared. Then we have the last group, consisting of five cities - Saransk, Volgograd, Yaroslavl, Kaliningrad and Rostov, that have problems.

"Most likely, two of those five cities will be cut from the final list," he added.

Russia beat England and joint bids from Spain-Portugal and Belgium-Netherlands in December 2010 to win the right to stage the finals.

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