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Putin welcomes teams and supporters to World Cup

AFP  |  Moscow 

welcomed teams and fans from across the world to the World Cup, which begins in next week, assuring that every effort had been "to ensure that all of our guests... feel at home".

"To all fans and the greatest teams on the planet, welcome!" Putin said on Russian television six days before the four-yearly tournament gets underway.

"It is with immense joy and a great honour that we receive representatives of the great football family. We want this event to be a celebration, filled with passion and emotions. I hope you will have an unforgettable experience," he added.

More than a million fans from around the world are set to arrive in for the eagerly awaited World Cup, in which 32 nations are taking part, according to

has spent USD 13 billion on preparations for welcoming all the visitors to the big event which will take place in 11 cities in Russia's west.

Construction of fan zone outside Moscow's top university is fuelling a rare protest in Russia as students worry that the thousands of partying football fans will destroy one of the capital's few green spaces.

Putin stressed that is a chance for visitors to learn about Russia's "identity and culture, its unique history and natural diversity; its hospitable, sincere and friendly people."

Filmed under a blue sky in front of the Kremlin, he added: "We have done our best to ensure that all of our guests -- the athletes, the staff and, of course, the fans -- feel at home in Russia.

"We have opened both our country and our hearts to the world."

There was no indication when the interview was filmed, but Putin arrived in for a state visit to yesterday.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, June 09 2018. 09:50 IST