The governor of the Russian city that was the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the Second World War, wants to stage a peace match between the Russian and German national football teams in the lead-up to the 2018 World Cup.
Although there have been no formal discussions about the match taking place, Andrei Bocharov, the governor of the Volgograd region, said he would like the two nations to meet in a friendly international marking the official opening of the Victory Stadium, which is currently being built.
Germany is one of the best soccer squads in the world. So we will be happy to receive such a match (friendly match between Russia and Germany), Bocharov told reporters at the construction site.
I would like for this stadium, our Victory Stadium, to receive the best (soccer) clubs of the world and Russia.
Asked if current tensions with Ukraine had affected preparations for the World Cup, Bocharov said construction was progressing according to the agreed timetable.
Preparation for the World Cup hasnt been affected. All work is in line with the timetable, there are no delays in objections [construction] and we are sure that there will be no delays. The events in Ukraine are tragic events for our brother nation and we think that the Ukrainian people will make their own choice.
One of 12 venues that will host World Cup matches in 2018, the Victory Stadium is due to be completed in late 2017, with seating for 45,000 spectators.
Germany, who won last years World Cup in Brazil, have often played warm-up matches in countries hosting the biggest international tournaments and any match between the defending champions and hosts would be a major draw for fans.