Russia President Vladimir Putin (ATR)

Vladimir Putin will be in Brazil for the conclusion of the FIFA World Cup.

The Russian president will take part in a handover ceremony after the tournament final. Putin’s country will host the next World Cup in 2018.

The July 13 event in Rio de Janeiro will also include Brazil President Dilma Rousseff.

Russia plans to invest $20 billion in the building and renovation of 12 World Cup venues and accompanying infrastructural upgrades.

The outlay pales in comparison to the $50 billion the country shelled out for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, which were held in February.


Ban Pledges World Cup Neutrality

South Korean fans gather in Seoul to watch their team’s opening match against Russia. (Getty Images)

The U.N. secretary-general is not playing favorites when it comes to the World Cup.

Ban Ki-moon said on Tuesday that, while he supports his native South Korea, he did not plan to watch their opening match against Russia in the interest of maintaining neutrality.

“This is a very delicate, sensitive question for me,” Ban said at a news conference in Geneva.

“I may not hide my own sentiment and support for the [South] Korean team. But as a secretary general, it would be very important that I need to be impartial. I am supporting all the teams who are participating in the World Cup.”

He did add that, during the match, “my heart may beat much faster than normal time.”

Ban added that while he would not watch the match, he would get a report from his staff on Wednesday morning.

By INSIDER’s Nick Devlin


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