Monday October 20th, 2014

FIFA said construction is ahead of schedule for the stadium that will host the final of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the Associated Press reports.

FIFA official Chris Unger, who is overseeing Russia's preparation for the tournament, visited Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow and said there have been no delays.

"As we heard today, they seem to be ahead of schedule [at Luzhniki], which is good for everybody, because the sooner they finish, the sooner we can begin testing," he said.

Unger completed a five-day tour of the country's stadiums, nearly four years before the tournament. Prior to hosting the World Cup, several of the stadiums that are being built now will host Confederations Cup matches in 2017. Unger said those stadiums are also on track to be finished in time.

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While he did not visit the sites during this trip, Unger said FIFA will closely monitor the construction of seven stadiums that are in the early stages of construction.

"It's not something that we walk away saying: 'Oh, we've seen the plans, now we're satisfied,'" he said. "It's a process. We come back, we see what progress has been made, see if the plans are accurate, we validate."

Russia's reported progress sharply contrasts Brazil's struggle to prepare for the 2014 World Cup. Several stadiums were not finished in time, and temporary seating was used.

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- Paul Palladino

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