two of Russia’s 13 candidate cities for the 2018 World Cup has broken his vow not to comment on the cities by praising the Olympic resort town of Sochi on Friday.
Earlier, Jurgen Mueller had refused to reveal any of the seven-person group’s impressions or findings about any of the candidates cities, even when asked about Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium, which is certain to host the final.
Commenting on any of the candidates would be unfair before FIFA selects the final 11 hosts in September, he said.
“It’s not very good of me, in respect of the other cities, to say this, but I really find your hospitality very pleasant. I really liked your city,” Muller said in Sochi.
“We are impressed; we have very positive impressions of the visit. … I liked the climate, the hospitable people who live here.”
The delegation visited the site in the Sochi Olympic Park where the Fisht Olympic Stadium is being built to serve the 2014 Winter Games, and is considered among the favorites to host matches in 2018.
The trip to Sochi was originally supposed to take place in April, but poor visibility meant the delegation’s plane diverted to nearby Rostov-on-Don, another potential host city.
The FIFA delegation has already visited the cities of Krasnodar, Rostov, St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad and Yekaterinburg and is yet to see Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Saransk, Samara and Volgograd, which are all included in a planned five-day whistle-stop tour in late June.
In Samara, a fans’ event to impress the delegation is being organized by local Russian Premier League club Krylya Sovetov, which will inherit the World Cup stadium once the tournament is over, if Samara is picked as a host city.