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Putin to head 2018 supervisory board

A statement on the government's website said Putin had signed a decree establishing the supervisory board of the non-profit organisation "Russia 2018 Organising Committee".

The board also includes First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, who led the Russian bid at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin and St Petersburg Governor Valentina Matvienko.

Putin was widely credited with helping the world's largest country win the right to stage the sport's biggest event for the first time when it beat England, and joint bids from Spain/Portugal and Belgium/Netherlands in December.

Russia faces the huge task of hosting the soccer extravaganza with much of the infrastructure yet to be built.