July 11, 2018 / 4:28 PM / 5 months ago

FIFA's Samoura says Russia sets bar high for Qatar 2022 World Cup

FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura meets with Russian Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko in Moscow, Russia July 11, 2018. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

MOSCOW (Reuters) - FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura said on Wednesday that Russia’s staging of the soccer World Cup had set the bar high for Qatar, the tournament’s next hosts in 2022.

“I feel for Qatar, because (Russia) has set the bar very, very high,” Samoura, referring to the next World Cup in four years’ time, said at a meeting with Valentina Matviyenko, speaker of the upper house of Russia’s parliament.

Samoura asked Matviyenko to convey to Russian President Vladimir Putin FIFA’s “profound appreciation for everything that he has done to make it possible for the world to watch the beautiful game.”

“I’d like to express to Russia the dear, heartfelt thanks of FIFA,” Samoura said.

The tournament has left visitors with good memories, Samoura said, adding that she thought the doping level has been at record lows.

Russia is hosting the tournament for the first time, in 12 stadiums spread across 11 cities including Moscow, St Petersburg and Sochi.

France will take on either Croatia or England in the final at Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium on Sunday.

Writing by Polina Ivanova; Editing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; editing by Mark Heinrich

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