2018 World Cup stadiums approved; Kosovo in

JIM ARMSTRONG AP Sports Writer Published:

TOKYO (AP) -- FIFA approved the stadiums for the start and end of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, and confirmed Kosovo as a new team at its final executive committee meeting of the year on Friday.

Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow was approved for the opening match, one semifinal and the final while World Cup Stadium in St. Petersburg was okayed for the other semi.

The 89,318-seat Luzhniki Stadium was the main venue for the 1980 Summer Olympics and is used mainly for football games by Torpedo Moscow and Spartak Moscow. The World Cup Stadium in St. Petersburg is under construction.

The executive also agreed to implement the decision to allow FIFA member associations to play international friendlies with teams from Kosovo, which is not a member of FIFA. The decision includes youth, amateur, women's and club football.

Kosovo has been out of world football since declaring independence from Serbia in 2008, because its sovereignty has not been recognized by the United Nations.

The executive committee advocated having a defibrillator available at every stadium. The decision follows the collapse of Bolton's Fabrice Muamba at an FA Cup match on March 17. The 23-year-old midfielder's heart stopped for 78 minutes but the intervention of a cardiologist, who left his seat among Tottenham fans to treat him, helped saved his life.

The next meeting of the FIFA executive committee will be in Zurich in March.