Egypt says it has settled on the southern Russian city of Grozny as its base for the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals in Russia.
“Our technical group and coaches visited many Russian cities before settling on Grozny. They were fully satisfied with the conditions they were offered there: a newly built hotel and its proximity to the airport, an excellent stadium. Our guys liked the city’s infrastructure and decided in favor of Grozny,” Egyptian Football Association president Hany Abo Rida said in an interview with Russia’s TASS news agency.
Abo Rida says the Chechen capital of 1.4 million was not the Pharaohs’ first choice, however.
“Some of the teams who were sure to secure a spot in the World Cup, chose their training bases beforehand. We mentioned Kazan and St. Petersburg as the most preferable cities for setting up our training base. But the two cities happened to have been booked by the time we made a request.”
“Yes, I know some people think we have chosen Grozny because we are Muslims. But I would like to assure you that this was not the key factor,” Abo Rida said.
Grozny, situated just west of the Caspian Sea, is 95% Muslim.
“But, possibly it will be more convenient for residents of Grozny that we will come there instead of the national teams of France or England,” he added.
Abo Rida says he expects the Pharaohs to arrive in Russia roughly a week before the World Cup kicks off on June 14.