Russia provides a poor setting for a celebration of sport – Los Angeles Times

The Confederations Cup, the quadrennial dress rehearsal for soccer’s World Cup, opened Saturday in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s hometown of St. Petersburg.

It’s not a milestone many find worth celebrating.

The start of the two-week, eight-nation tournament is FIFA’s final blessing of the tournament to come next summer. It’s too late to turn back now — not that there was a possibility of that happening anyway.

“I can guarantee you that it’s probably going to be the safest World Cup that anybody can go to,” said Real Salt Lake forward Yura Movsisyan, who was born in Armenia, grew up in Pasadena, then played six years in the Russian Premier League. “They’re friendly people. And they’re going to make sure that nothing happens.

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