Over 20 world leaders to attend World Cup opening ceremony - LOC chief

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MOSCOW, June 13. /TASS/. More than 20 heads of state will attend the opening ceremony of the FIFA World Cup in Russia, General Director of the 2018 Local Organizing Committee (LOC) Alexei Sorokin said on Wednesday.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicks off on Thursday with the opening match in the Russian capital of Moscow between hosts Russia and the national team from Saudi Arabia (at 6 p.m. Moscow Time).
"I can say that more than 20 heads of state will attend the opening ceremony. This is absolutely normal, the heads of state have always shown great interest in the World Cup’s opener and the final. It’s good that we will have high-ranking guests, they will be able to enjoy football and I hope the Russian team’s victory," Sorokin said.
Sorokin assured the FIFA Congress in Moscow that Russia is ready to host the World Cup.
"I’m glad to welcome all of you in Russia, in my native city of Moscow. We are just one day before opening a new page in the world football’s history. I’m here to get the key message across to you: Russia is ready, is fully ready to host this spectacular event," Sorokin said.
Russia will ensure all security guarantees, he stressed. "We will ensure security at 160 facilities," he said.
Among the foreign leaders who are expected to come to Russia for the World Cup are Abkhaz President Raul Khajimba, Azerbaijani President Ilkham Aliyev, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kyrgyz President Sooronbay Jeenbekov, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Al Hariri, Moldovan President Igor Dodon, Panama’s President Juan Carlos Varela, Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benitez, Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Tajik President Emomalii Rahmon, Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and South Ossetian President Anatoly Bibilov.
Russia selected 11 host cities to be the venues for the matches of the 2018 World Cup and they are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.
The matches of the 2018 World Cup will be held between June 14 and July 15 at 12 stadiums located in the 11 above-mentioned cities across Russia. Two of the stadiums are located in the Russian capital.

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