Moscow: As the 68th FIFA Congress convened in Moscow on the eve of the 21st FIFA World Cup, Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered the message of peace saying that Russia is ready to welcome the fans from all around the world.
The 65-year-old President also thanked FIFA for their support in Russia's seven-year journey in hosting the World Cup.
"It is just a few hours before we begin the great event for the friends of football. Right now, we are looking back at the very beginning of this long and complicated and burdened with responsibilities path to the FIFA World Cup," he said.
"We have done this together as one big team. The preparation for this large-scale and vibrant sporting festival wasn't the task only of the hosting country. This would be impossible without the big number of enthusiasts and specialists of the whole global football family," he added.
He further expressed happiness towards the tradition of FIFA to gather in the host city on the eve of the opening match of the World Cup.
"I am so happy that this family has a great tradition of gathering together in the run-up to the cup in the opening city. This gives us (Russia) the possibility to thank you and all your colleagues for your support and assistance throughout these seven years as Russia was preparing to host one of the most significant and popular events in global sports."
"Together we have done everything for this football event to be a top-notch event, to be an unforgettable thing for each participant, be that a player, a fan in the stadium or even a Tv fan," he further added.
He also thanked FIFA President Gianni Infantino for taking the reins of the FIFA during the complicated time for the sports governing body after the former president Sepp Blatter's reign came to an end after series of charges.
Putin, who has been in kind of standoff with West, expressed that the generations of Russians have dreamt of gathering world's best football teams and that dream has come true with the World Cup and the fans travelling to the World Cup should enjoy Russia's unique culture at this vibrant sporting event.
"Sports has an incredible humanistic potential to touch a large number of lives at a major event like FIFA World Cup. This is also the possibility for the millions of people to learn new things about other nations and their traditions, finding new friends, understanding other countries, just like their own countries. They (other countries) are also kind, open people, they are friendly and all want to live in peace," he said.
"Our country is prepared to host the FIFA World Cup and to ensure that everyone who comes to Russia, it will be only convenient and very positive. I request all the fans, players to enjoy the hospitality and welcoming nature of our nation. For them to understand our unique culture and our unique nature," he added.
He wished the delegates of the FIFA Congress a fruitful meet and concluded his speech with, "Welcome to Russia!" as he once again welcomed the fans to the World Cup.
In return, FIFA President offered Putin FIFA pennant and thanked him and the people of Russia for their engagement in hosting the World Cup.