New FIFA president Infantino makes first visit to Russia

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MOSCOW (AP) Gianni Infantino is visiting 2018 World Cup host Russia for the first time since he was elected FIFA president in February.

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Infantino began his tour with a visit to Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium, which is undergoing a major rebuild to be ready for the World Cup final.

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Infantino looked over the construction site of the 81,000-seat stadium with Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin and gave a double thumbs-up gesture.

In comments reported by Russia’s Tass state news agency, Infantino praised Sobyanin for preserving the historical facade of the stadium, an icon of Soviet architecture which hosted the 1980 Olympics.

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For the new FIFA president, it is the start of a four-day tour of Russia and Qatar, the host of the 2022 World Cup.