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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

After Olympics, Russia Goes for Football's World Cup

APChildren marking a 30-day countdown till the beginning of the 2010 Soccer World Cup in Soweto, South Africa.

Hosting the football World Cup finals in 2018 or 2022 will boost the development of Russia's sport and tourist infrastructure, First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said Thursday.

"These are immense opportunities for business. … That's what we call associated infrastructure — hotels, city infrastructure," Shuvalov said at the presentation of Russia's bid to host the championship football tournament.

The announcement came as Russia and other countries bidding to host the World Cup prepare to submit their bid books to the International Football Association, or FIFA, on Friday.

Shuvalov, who chairs the committee overseeing the Russian bid, said Russia had every right to host the World Cup because of its vast experience in holding international sports competitions, including football ones.

Shuvalov declined to specify the amount of money to be spent on developing the infrastructure, as well as the proposed budget of the competition, but Alexei Sorokin, chief executive of the Russian Football Union, said the assigned money "would satisfy FIFA."

Sports, Tourism and Youth Politics Minister Vitaly Mutko said the budget of the project "would be comparable to the budget Germany spent on hosting the World Cup."

Analysts said Russia might actually need more money than Germany for its World Cup.

"Germany had a more developed infrastructure when it won the right to host the World Cup. Germany didn't have to do such a big amount of work," said Andrei Rozhkov, an infrastructure analyst at Metropol.

Russia plans to build 16 stadiums in 13 cities, including Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad, Rostov-on-Don, Sochi, Samara and Nizhny Novgorod.

Construction costs for a single stadium range from $70 million to $300 million, Rozhkov said.

Infrastructure projects for the cup will mostly be funded by private investors, Shuvalov said.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said last year that hosting the World Cup was "a nationwide task" for the country.

But Russia will develop transport and sports infrastructure even if it loses its bid, Shuvalov said.

"We must do that anyway, because we must make our country better," he said.

Mutko said that hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics, which will be held in Sochi, "strengthened Russia's position" in the competition.

Olympic construction is currently estimated to cost about $12 billion, but preparing a world cup would probably be cheaper, because there will be no need for such a large-scale reconstruction of infrastructure, Rozhkov said.

Russia's lack of hotels and stadiums may play to its advantage, because FIFA is interested in developing football infrastructure worldwide, and the other bidders already have such infrastructure developed, Shuvalov said.

Also in the run for the 2018 or 2022 World Cup are England, the United States, Australia and two joint bids from Spain-Portugal and Netherlands-Belgium, respectively. The 2018 tournament is tipped to take place in Europe.

Japan, Qatar and South Korea aim solely at the 2022 tournament.

The most serious rivals for Russia are England and the Spain-Portugal tandem, Mutko said.

FIFA's commission, which will evaluate Russia's bid to host the world cup, will arrive in Russia on Aug. 16. It plans to visit some of the cities mentioned in the bid book, including Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan and Nizhny Novgorod.

FIFA's executive committee will select the hosts of the 2018 and 2022 competitions in ballot vote in Zurich on December 2.