2018 World Cup to be held in 11 cities

Eleven Russian cities will host the 2018 World Cup, head of the local organising committee Vitaly Mutko said on Friday following FIFA's executive board meeting in Zurich.

"FIFA has made a decision to use 12 stadiums in 11 cities," Russian Sports Minister Mutko said without naming the two cities who did not make the list.

Thirteen Russian cities - Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad, Yaroslavl, Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan, Samara, Saransk, Volgograd, Krasnodar, Rostov, Sochi and Yekaterinburg - had been competing for the right to stage the matches.

Local media reported that Saransk and Yaroslavl had been dropped. Mutko said earlier this month that Saransk, Volgograd, Yaroslavl, Kaliningrad and Rostov were the most under threat.

"The official decision is to have 11 host cities, which will be announced live on national television on Saturday evening," a LOC spokesman said.

"Until then, anything else is pure speculation."

Moscow will have two venues - the 90,000-seat Luzhniki stadium which will stage the final - and another to be chosen from two 45,000-seat arenas that are being built by the Spartak and Dynamo clubs.

Russia beat England and joint bids from Spain-Portugal and Belgium-Netherlands in December 2010 to win the right to stage the tournament.