President Vladimir Putin expressed concern over delays to some of Russia’s preparations for the 2018 World Cup on Tuesday, warning there were no grounds for complacency.

Russian President Putin

“Any delays in the preparation for the World Cup are inadmissible,” Putin said at a meeting of the presidential council for sports.

“Solving problems is mostly complicated at the final stage and we should pay very special attention to it,” he added.

“In the final stage, it may seem that everything is done. But if something hasn’t been completed it means that nothing has been done. And if we (allow ourselves to) relax, we’ll never bring  things to a close.”

Pavel Kolobkov, Russia’s sports minister, earlier told the presidential council that a backlog of work has been noted at 12 construction sites, but added that these delays would not affect the World Cup preparations as a whole.

“There are backlogs in construction sites at 12 facilities but it will not affect the period of execution of the works,” the minister said.

The 2018 World Cup will be held at 12 venues in 11 Russian cities — Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.

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