2018 World Cup stadiums approved; Kosovo in
FIFA approved the stadiums for the start and end of the 2018
World Cup in Russia, and confirmed Kosovo as a new team at its
final executive committee meeting of the year on Friday.
Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow was approved for the opening match,
one semifinal and the final while World Cup Stadium in St.
Petersburg was okayed for the other semi.
The 89,318-seat Luzhniki Stadium was the main venue for the 1980
Summer Olympics and is used mainly for football games by Torpedo
Moscow and Spartak Moscow. The World Cup Stadium in St. Petersburg
is under construction.
The executive also agreed to implement the decision to allow
FIFA member associations to play international friendlies with
teams from Kosovo, which is not a member of FIFA. The decision
includes youth, amateur, women’s and club football.
Kosovo has been out of world football since declaring
independence from Serbia in 2008, because its sovereignty has not
been recognized by the United Nations.
The executive committee advocated having a defibrillator
available at every stadium. The decision follows the collapse of
Bolton’s Fabrice Muamba at an FA Cup match on March 17. The
23-year-old midfielder’s heart stopped for 78 minutes but the
intervention of a cardiologist, who left his seat among Tottenham
fans to treat him, helped saved his life.
The next meeting of the FIFA executive committee will be in
Zurich in March.