By Paul Osborne

Sochi's Fisht Olympic Stadium is set to become the new home of FC Zhemchuzhina ©Getty ImagesApril 20 - Sochi's Fisht Olympic Stadium is expected to welcome football matches a little earlier than expected following news that the region's football team, FC Zhemchuzhina, is set to be reformed.

The 40,000-capacity Stadium, which held the Opening and Closing Ceremonies at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic and Paralympics, was already selected to host matches at the 2017 Confederations Cup, as well as the FIFA World Cup in 2018.

It will also now be home to the Sochi-based football club FC Zhemchuzhina following news of their re-emergence onto the Russian football scene.

"The Stadium will be handed over to the Krasnodar Region and they have everything at their disposal which abides to the standards set by FIFA," Russia's Minister of Sport, Vitaly Mutko told ITAR-TASS.

"The Stadium will soon have a football club.

"We will return the traditions of Sochi's Zhemchuzhina."

The news of FC Zhemchuzhina's re-emergence comes following an announcement by Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko ©AFP/Getty ImagesThe news of FC Zhemchuzhina's re-emergence comes following an announcement by Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko ©AFP/Getty Images

The team, whose name means Pearl in Russian, was originally formed in 1991 and, following two years of success, were promoted to the country's top division where they spent seven years amongst the nation's top teams.

After successive relegations in 1999 and 2000, Zhemchuzhina spent three years in the Russian Second Division, the third tier of Russian football and now the Russian Professional Division following name changes to each of the Russian leagues, before disbanding over financial difficulties.

In 2007, club was re-established under name "Zhemchuzhina-A" and after a season in the Amateur Football League South Zone, the fourth highest league tier, gained promotion to the Russian Second Division.

In 2008 the team was renamed FC Zhemchuzhina-Sochi and, in 2010, was promoted to the Russian First Division, a first appearance in the league following a nine year absence.

Despite a large publicity campaign, the team were unable to gain promotion to the country's top flight, and with dwindling crowds and a lack of sponsors, they were eventually forced out of business again in 2011. 

The re-emergence of a professional team in Sochi will mean that each host city for the 2018 FIFA World Cup will now be home to at least one football club.

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