By Duncan Mackay

220px-SochiOlympicsStadiumNovember 20 - Sochi and Kazan are among four cities nominated to stage the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, the warm-up tournament for the following year's FIFA World Cup in Russia, it has been announced. 

They will join Moscow and St Petersburg in the event held every four years by FIFA.

It is contested by the holders of each of the six FIFA confederation championships, along with the FIFA World Cup holder and the host nation, to bring the number of teams up to eight.

The eight-team tournament, to be played in June 2017, will serve as a prelude to the World Cup to be hosted by the world's largest country for the first time the following year.

The under-construction Gazprom-Arena in St Petersburg is set to stage the opening match and the final of the event.

Russia 2018 organisers have also proposed Moscow's Spartak stadium, Sochi's Fisht Olympic Stadium, which will stage the Opening and Closing ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Games, and Kazan's Central Stadium, which is due to host next year's Summer Universiade, as the venues for the Confederations Cup.

All four cities were among 11 chosen by Russia and FIFA in September to host World Cup matches in 2018. 

Russia LOC meeting November 20 2012Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko chaired the Russia 2018 meeting which picked the four venues for the 2017 Confederations Cup

"Proposing Moscow and Saint Petersburg, the cradle of Russian football by the way, as the stage for the key matches of these two major FIFA events is an important operational decision for the LOC (Local Organising Committee)," said Vitaly Mutko, Russia's Sports Minister and chairman of Russia 2018. 

"It is part of our milestone achievements, and our preparations are already in full swing.

"We look forward to the validation of our suggestions in December so we can continue our mission."

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