By Daniel Etchells

Christian Unger, head of FIFA's Inspection Committee, addressed the media outside the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow ©Getty ImagesChristian Unger, head of FIFA's Inspection Committee, claims preparations for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia are "going according to plan" after world football's governing body completed their inspection of five of the tournament's venues.

Moscow's Spartak Stadium and Luzhniki Stadium were inspected on Sunday (October 19) and Monday (October 20) respectively, following visits to the Zenit Arena in St Petersburg on Thursday (October 16), the Kazan Arena on Friday (October 17) and the Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi on Saturday (October 18).

The 42,000-seat Spartak Stadium, which went into service in September, was described as "an excellent new stadium" by Unger, who added that he was pleased with the progress of reconstruction works at the Luzhniki Stadium, which is due to host the final.

Construction work around the latter meant the joint delegation, which includes 40 experts from FIFA, the Russia 2018 Local Organising Committee (LOC) and Arena-2018, could only view the venue from the outside.

Work is continuing around the clock at the Stadium and its surrounding area, which will provide a tournament hub and FIFA's main office, to ensure everything is completed in time for the Confederations Cup in 2017.

According to Alexey Sorokin, chief executive of the Russia 2018 LOC, the majority of discussions with the FIFA officials during the visit have been office-based.

He said one of the main topics had been how to "maximize the space around the stadiums".

"Everything is going according to plan and on the whole, the FIFA delegation have been pleasantly surprised with what they have seen," he said.

Construction work around the Luzhniki Stadium meant the joint delegation could only view the venue from the outside ©Getty ImagesConstruction work around the Luzhniki Stadium meant the joint delegation could only view the venue from the outside ©Getty Images

Sorokin also touched on the behaviour of Russian football fans, who have been involved in a number of unsavoury incidents in recent years that have included racist abuse.

"We are trying to correct all these things," he said.

"This is a problem that is not needed in our country.

"Just like the rest of the world, we are fighting to get incidents in our stadiums under control and stop people going to matches to cause trouble and hindering those who are wanting to watch football."

Virtual inspections of the remaining stadiums commenced yesterday and will be completed tomorrow. 

A date has yet to be set for the second of eight planned visits in the build-up to the competition.

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