Kremlin, December 1: Amidst all the din over surrounding hooliganism and racism, Russia will turn a new page in football history as the draw ceremony for the 2018 FIFA World Cup will be held on Friday (December 1).
The success of the tournament is also a matter of personal pride for Vladimir Putin after the Russian strongman helped wrest the competition main rival bidder England in an ugly 2010 battle.
Racism has been rampant in Russian football. Russia's football governing body has been trying to clean up its act though and organisers say they recorded no racist episodes when they hosted the Confederations Cup -- the World Cup warmup -- this year.
The draw, which is set to take place in Kremlin, will split the 32 teams into eight groups in the tournament to be held from June 14 to July 15 next year.
The teams which are qualified for the tournament are divided into four pots on the basis of their FIFA rankings.
Retired English footballer Gary Lineker and Russian journalist Maria Komandnaya will conduct the draw.
MEET THE FINALISTS: We've created interactive profiles on every #WorldCup side. Study up before Friday's #WorldCupDraw!— #WorldCupDraw 🏆 (@FIFAWorldCup) November 29, 2017
All 3⃣2⃣ team guides, right here 👉https://t.co/BGTFz5p21e pic.twitter.com/zEu1COQEBh
They will be joined on the stage by a galaxy of past and present stars including Nikita Simonyan, Diego Forlan, Diego Maradona, Laurent Blanc, Gordon Banks, Cafu, Fabio Cannavaro, Carles Puyol and Miraslov Klose.
When and where to watch
The draw begins at 8.30pm (IST) and will be shown live on Sony Ten 1, Sony Ten 1 HD, Sony Ten 2 and Sony Ten 2 HD.
FIFA.com and FIFA's YouTube channel will have the live streaming as well.