Soccer

New FIFA president Infantino makes first visit to Russia

  • FIFA President Gianni Infantino gestures at the Luzhniki Stadium which is undergoing a major rebuild to be ready for the 2018 World Cup during a visit with Moscow's Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, April 19, 2016. Gianni Infantino is visiting 2018 World Cup host Russia for the first time since he was elected FIFA president in February. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

    FIFA President Gianni Infantino gestures at the Luzhniki Stadium which is undergoing a major rebuild to be ready for the 2018 World Cup during a visit with Moscow's Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, April 19, 2016. Gianni Infantino is visiting 2018 World Cup host Russia for the first time since he was elected FIFA president in February. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)  (The Associated Press)

  • FIFA President Gianni Infantino, center, listens to Moscow's Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, left, at the Luzhniki Stadium which is undergoing a major rebuild to be ready for the 2018 World Cup, in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, April 19, 2016. Others are unidentified officials. Gianni Infantino is visiting 2018 World Cup host Russia for the first time since he was elected FIFA president in February. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

    FIFA President Gianni Infantino, center, listens to Moscow's Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, left, at the Luzhniki Stadium which is undergoing a major rebuild to be ready for the 2018 World Cup, in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, April 19, 2016. Others are unidentified officials. Gianni Infantino is visiting 2018 World Cup host Russia for the first time since he was elected FIFA president in February. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)  (The Associated Press)

  • Moscow's Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, left, listens as FIFA President Gianni Infantino speaks to the media at the Luzhniki Stadium which is undergoing a major rebuild to be ready for the 2018 World Cup, in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, April 19, 2016. Others are unidentified officials. Gianni Infantino is visiting 2018 World Cup host Russia for the first time since he was elected FIFA president in February. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

    Moscow's Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, left, listens as FIFA President Gianni Infantino speaks to the media at the Luzhniki Stadium which is undergoing a major rebuild to be ready for the 2018 World Cup, in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, April 19, 2016. Others are unidentified officials. Gianni Infantino is visiting 2018 World Cup host Russia for the first time since he was elected FIFA president in February. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)  (The Associated Press)

Gianni Infantino is visiting 2018 World Cup host Russia for the first time since he was elected FIFA president in February.

Infantino began his tour with a visit to Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium, which is undergoing a major rebuild to be ready for the World Cup final.

Infantino looked over the construction site of the 81,000-seat stadium with Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin and gave a double thumbs-up gesture.

In comments reported by Russia's Tass state news agency, Infantino praised Sobyanin for preserving the historical facade of the stadium, an icon of Soviet architecture which hosted the 1980 Olympics.

For the new FIFA president, it is the start of a four-day tour of Russia and Qatar, the host of the 2022 World Cup.