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Fiji Time: 11:31 AM on Wednesday 17 September

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FIFA calls for improvement in preparations

Afp
Monday, May 12, 2014

ZURICH, Switzerland - Russia cannot avoid problems with its 2018 World Cup and FIFA will call a special meeting in September to improve organisation of future tournaments, the world body's secretary general said yesterday.

FIFA has had to cope with a chaotic buildup to the World Cup that starts in Brazil in June and FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said "I know that there will be a number of problems" in Russia.

"In Russia there is a lot of work to do," he said, while adding that any difficulties would be different from the delays in Brazil.

Russia last year selected 11 cities to host World Cup matches but several venues will need to be built from scratch in one of the most ambitious engineering projects in post-Soviet history.

The tough winters could also make some deadlines tight.

Moscow and Saint Petersburg are used to major events, Valcke told a small group of reporters at FIFA headquarters.

"But in the other cities they also have to build new stadiums or to redo the stadiums."

Valcke expressed confidence that any obstacle could be overcome.

FIFA had problems in Brazil because it had to deal with multiple levels of government and the president changed after the tournament was awarded to the country.

In Russia, the political system is more centralised and FIFA president Sepp Blatter has "excellent" relations with President Vladimir Putin.

Valcke said top officials from the organisers of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, Brazil, Russia and the Qatari organisers of the 2022 event will meet in September.

"At least we will discuss on how to avoid as much as we can the problems we have faced in 2010 and 2014 and the problems we foresee for 2018 and 2022."

Brazil has been bedevilled by construction delays and eight fatal stadium accidents, the latest on Thursday.