FIFA GENERAL SECRETARY TO RT: I HAVEN’T SUFFERED ANY RACIAL ISSUES

MOSCOW, 1 DECEMBERFamous football players and the Secretary General of the International Football Federation (FIFA) joined RT for an exclusive interview about their impressions of Russia on the eve of the final draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Hosting the special RT coverage will be football legend from Manchester United Peter Schmeichel and former Liverpool striker Stan Collymore.

FIFA Secretary-General Fatma Samoura talked to RT about her visit to Russia for the Confederations Cup in 2017: “I really was fascinated by the level of commitment by local authorities, and more importantly, by the warm welcome…When I came for the first time in Russia it was in July last year. One month after my assignment. And definitely like every African person, I was just fearing to be treated differently. I was ready also to help people think about Africa and Africans differently. But as we speak, I’ve been here for at least 20 times altogether. I haven’t suffered any racial issues.”

Marcel Desailly, famous French footballer for club teams Milan and Chelsea and the French national team, praised the level of preparation for the World Cup in Russia during an exclusive interview with RT. “FIFA have put enough pressure on the Russian organization to have a very good World Cup. About the crowd, no worries. People will come. People will enjoy it. People will know that they are secure on the various FIFA fun part we are going to have all over the various cities. We are quite confident about a great World Cup. The only thing we don’t know is how the team is going to entertain us during the game.”

The legendary football player for Barcelona and the Spanish national team Carles Puyol, who will participate in the draw ceremony, discussed with RT his expectations for the final part of the championships: “I am very happy to be here; I am glad of this opportunity to participate. To experience the World Cup from the inside is a wonderful experience. We'll see what happens to us. This year the Spanish team has a very good line-up, and it is a favorite of mine. Of course, the surprise absence of Italy is a historic event. Great country with an excellent team and a long football tradition, but, unfortunately, they failed to qualify. Sweden also has a great team, and I think they will be performing at a high level.”

Leading the special coverage of the draw for the 2018 World Cup on RT will be journalist Neil Harvey and legendary Danish footballer and former goalkeeper for England’s Manchester United club Peter Schmeichel. Guests of the special studio located in the heart of Moscow will be football stars, representatives of FIFA and sports experts. Ex-striker for Liverpool and England’s national team, commentator and football expert Stan Collymore, who hosts the RT program ‘The Stan Collymore Show’, will provide exclusive commentary directly from the draw ceremony set to begin at 6pm Moscow time (15:00 GMT) inside the Kremlin.

Latin American football legend and the record holder for the number of matches played on Colombia’s national team, Carlos Valderrama, will be leading the special coverage of the draw on RT Spanish.

RT is also launching a special multimedia project dedicated to the 2018 World Cup. The site – available in Russian, English, Spanish and Arabic – will provide the schedule of the matches, information on the teams’ players, current standings, as well as news, exclusive interviews and analysis. During the tournament, visitors will find live broadcasts of the matches, as well as reports by RT correspondents.