A delegation from the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ Local Organising Committee (LOC) and FIFA officials have completed their inspection tour of the 13 different 2018 FIFA World Cup candidate host cities.
The commission visited Krasnodar, Rostov-on-Don, St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad, Ekaterinburg, Yaroslavl, Moscow, Sochi, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Saransk, Samara and Volgograd from 10 April to 22 June. The inspection tour took almost three and a half months, with the delegation travelling a total distance of more than 14,000 kilometres. Around 400 hours were spent in the cities themselves.
The experts visited the stadia and construction sites, inspected airports and familiarised themselves with the concepts of the Fan Fests. They also met with the officials of the cities and regions contending to be Host Cities. Each region presented plans for modernising transport and hotel infrastructures.
Fifteen stadia in 13 cities are vying to host 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ matches. Five proposed stadia are under construction: in St. Petersburg, Saransk, Kazan, Sochi and the FC Spartak Stadium in Moscow. Two more stadia are to be reconstructed if selected to host 2018 FIFA World Cup matches: Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow and Ekaterinburg Stadium. Other stadia in Kaliningrad, Yaroslavl, Samara, Volgograd, Nizhny Novgorod, Krasnodar, Rostov-on-Don and the FC Dynamo Stadium in Moscow are in the design stages. During the inspection visits, all the cities presented their stadia construction concepts.
Simultaneously with the inspection visits, during EURO 2012, delegates from Russian candidate cities and experts from FIFA and the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia LOC visited the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv as part of the Observer Programme to learn from Ukraine’s experience in preparing for UEFA EURO 2012.
As part of the preparations for the announcement of the host cities, the candidate cities are developing official 2018 FIFA World Cup posters. The posters will be unveiled simultaneously with the announcement of the final list of host cities.
“It was good to get first-hand impressions of the candidate host cities and their plans for using the hosting of the FIFA World Cup for the development of infrastructure.” said Jurgen Muller, Head of the 2014, 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups.
“We are grateful to all the cities for the professional organisation of the inspection visits,” said Russia 2018 LOC CEO Alexey Sorokin. “They provided us with the complete information required for our work. The candidate host cities had an additional opportunity to review the requirements for staging the 2018 World Cup with FIFA experts and evaluate the cities’ plans related to the tournament. The success of the FIFA World Cup depends not only on how well it is organised, but also on how efficiently the host nation uses the 2018 World Cup legacy.”
Posted in 2018 news
The 2018 world football cup in Russia will ensure a drastic increase in the number of tourist arrivals to this country from all over the world. The number of foreign tourists may grow by 10% as against this year as early as in 2012.
Russia’s win of the 2018 FIFA World Cup bid will understandably generate interest in this country’s culture, nature etc. It is always preferable to see things for oneself than to look at photos in the Internet. Russia should therefore get ready for a drastic increase in the inflow of foreign tourists and should get down to developing its entire tourist infrastructure energetically without delay, says the vice-president of the Russian Union of Tourist Industry Yuri Barzykin, and elaborates.
Hosting a FIFA World Cup, Yuri Barzykin says, certainly presupposes the construction of both sports facilities and new hotels, as well as the rest of infrastructure. All cities that will host sports competition will form part of tourist routes. Secondly, both fans and travellers will be able to discover on the map of Russia some altogether new areas, with their own cultural, historical and natural potential. Russia has made it to the world’s top five nations that boast the greatest potential of this kind. This will certainly provide a fresh impulse for promoting these areas on the tourist market.
The expert goes on to say that the preparations for the 2018 FIFA World Cup should provide for advertizing, building, hotel classification, and service improvement, in short everything that would enable the major tourist powers to improve their situation on the world tourist market. Russia does have a chance of improving its position on that market, so it should waste no time.
Foreign fans will certainly be attracted by the fact that they will be able to come to Russia visa-free. Russia first made it possible for foreign fans to come to Moscow visa-free for two days several years ago to attend a game involving Manchester United. This helped Moscow earn over 40 million dollars. 8 Russian seaports have been using the visa-free regime for some time now for passengers of cruise ships and ferries arriving in Russia for 72 hours. But this will not be enough for the FIFA World Cup, says Yuri Barzykin, and adds.
Today Russian leaders claim that they will abolish visas for the Cup games period, says Yuri Barzykin. Talks have been effectively under way with the European Union for a while on easing the visa regime terms. In short, residents of the countries that pose no danger in terms of migration will have to ask for no Russian visas.
Foreign tourists entering Russia will be insured against risks by foreign insurance companies. But the scale of the event will call for some extra insurance policies. So, the Russian insurance market will have to launch cooperation with the international companies that have been active on the international market to guarantee effective assistance whenever necessary. Certain progress has already been made to that end, with international medical centres set up in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
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Germany will share its experience in arranging the FIFA World Cup event with Russia, the country’s Ambassador to Russia Ulrich Brandenburg stated on Saturday.
The diplomat said Berlin was happy to see Russia as the World Cup 2018 host as the country has well-established football traditions and will accomplish the mission with flying colors.
Brandenburg also said that German companies are ready to invest into the sports facilities for the World Cup and some of them are engaged in the preparation for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.
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In a dramatic decision, football’s premier governing body FIFA voted to award the 2018 World Cup to Russia. This was a huge victory for Russia which till the polling started was ranked behind England’s bid – the bookies’ favourite and a football powerhouse. Russia also overcame stiff challenges from the combined bids of Portugal-Spain on the one hand and Belgium and Netherlands on the other. The victory is remarkable for the fact that it will be the first time that the World Cup will be held in the eastern part of Europe.
It brings to fruition the massive effort initiated by the Russian government to put the country on the centre stage of world sports. Prime Minister Putin himself reportedly met with at least a third of the 24-member FIFA executive committee responsible for awarding the hosting rights of the World Cup. The football world cup ranks next only to the Summer Olympics in terms of prestige and attention.
Russia has already won the bid to host the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and the showpiece annual Formula One event will also be held from the same year onwards. With the country hosting three major world sporting events in the next eight years, it is hoped that there would be a massive infusion of capital to boost the country’s infrastructure and upgrade the transport and tourism sectors. These are largely seen as a legacy development – created for an event and able to impact regional and city growth for long after.
The capacity of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo and Domodedovo airports will have to be doubled, high speed railway links between host cities will need to be set up, 19000 hotel rooms need to be either renovated or built, internet and telephone communications, and television and broadcasting infrastructure need to be improved.
In total, thirteen new world class stadiums are designed to come up in Russia in the next few years and the country is expected to spend eleven billion US dollars just on these games alone apart from much more needed for infrastructure development.1 Indeed, the stock markets responded on a very positive note with the MICEX index (particularly the steel company’s indices) reaching its highest level since July 2008.2
There was widespread resentment and controversy over the way FIFA conducted the voting, with England claiming that justice was denied. A high profile English delegation comprising Prime Minister David Cameron, Prince William and football legend David Beckham had campaigned incessantly in Zurich to champion their country’s credentials to host the event. Allegations of corruption kept simmering right till the very end, with English officials claiming that the results had been fixed long before the actual voting started. Prime Minister Putin was conspicuous by his absence though he immediately jetted to Zurich on hearing the news and called it a ‘day of rejoicing’.
The World Cup is a golden opportunity for Russia to favourably build its reputation as a business and investment destination for the foreseeable future. The World Cup in South Africa helped create half a million jobs and pushed up the country’s GDP by one percentage point.3 More than 300,000 tourists visited South Africa, with fans spending US$ 520 million on hotels, food and clothing.4 This is a significant collateral benefit which Russia can avail of if it takes the appropriate measures in time. A report by Merrill Lynch has shown that Brazil and South Africa, World Cup host nations, saw their stock markets outperform a number of the world’s fastest growing economies (India, Russia, and China) after winning their respective bids.5
Organizing the event is a corollary to President Medvedev’s ambitious policy of modernization of the Russian economy. In order to tackle Russia’s lack of global economic competitiveness, the President has chalked out a diversification plan to foster enhanced technological cooperation with the developed world: ‘modernization alliances’ especially with the United States and the European Union. The economy is in dire need of fresh investment and innovation. A concerted effort has been initiated to reduce over dependence of the economy on the oil and gas sector.
The World Cup provides a multitude of opportunities for Russia to accelerate its integration into the world economy. The financial and economic benefits for the country are clear. However, the benefits go beyond that by increasing joint initiatives with companies through Public Private Partnerships and attracting more foreign direct investment. Strict adherence to best international standards will also help to bring in the much needed efficiency in the system.
Russia will need to involve international contractors and suppliers on a scale never seen before in order to implement the reconstruction campaign in 13 cities from Kaliningrad on the border of the European Union to Yekaterinburg in the Urals. Transparency in awarding media rights, sponsorship packages and infrastructure bids, and impact of environmental damage and social dislocation will determine investor confidence in the country’s economy.
Russia needs to put in a monumental effort for the successful hosting of the games. Corruption is endemic in Russia and the country has almost slipped to the bottom of Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index and is currently ranked at an abysmal 154th place out of a total 178 countries.6 However, recent developments suggest that policy planners have taken steps that will go a long way in curbing the pessimism that surrounds the business framework in today’s Russia.
President Medvedev has given top priority to an anti-corruption drive and introduced key legislation that should tackle the menace of rampant corruption. Russia is likely to sign the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Anti-Bribery Convention and join the OECD, which should be followed by its accession to the World Trade Organization. This commitment to global standards will in the longer-term enable the Russian government to introduce more effective anti-corruption laws and reform the law enforcement agencies to ensure effective implementation.
It is also important to see how Russia tackles the problem of bureaucratic red tape. A significant number of the country’s critical infrastructure projects are stuck in red tape and are running way behind schedule. A classic example is the plan to build a modern football stadium of Spartak club in Moscow. The decree to provide a plot of land to build the stadium was signed in 2006, but construction did not begin until the beginning of 2010. Russia will also need to curb racism which often rears its ugly head in domestic football matches.
Russia should be careful about the way it commits its resources in organizing these expensive games. It should closely look at the way Greece organized the Olympics in 2004 and try to avoid incurring the massive debt and other pitfalls which contributed to the virtual bankruptcy of the Greek economy.
It is also worth noting that all the BRIC countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China have recently hosted or are set to host major sporting events. The next World Cup in 2014 will be hosted by Brazil, New Delhi played host to the Commonwealth Games this year, and Beijing was the venue of the 2008 Olympic Games. This is an indication of the growing clout of BRIC states in global affairs.
India and Russia have a strong traditional strategic relationship. It is but natural for the two countries to share their best practises in organizing mega events. New Delhi had very recently hosted the Commonwealth Games and although the extravaganza was mired in controversy, yet in the end it indicated that India was capable of organizing such big events and prove that the much publicized Indian growth story was no fluke.
The need for massive investment opens up opportunities for Indian companies especially those which are directly related to infrastructure development. Steel giants like SAIL, TATA and L&T for building stadiums or parts of it, IT powerhouses like Infosys, Wipro and TCS for communications, India’s expertise in tourism, GMR’s airport modernizing capabilities, crowd and traffic management similar to the one implemented in Delhi during the CW Games, can all be tapped into.
It is hoped that in eight years time when soccer fans descend on to some of the brand new facilities of even provincial cities like Rostov and Samara, Russia would have by then succeeded in its modernization agenda. It would benefit not only Russia but the whole world and that is a goal, though ambitious, is worth aiming for. India should more actively look to partner Russia in its modernisation programme.
Posted in 2018 news
Russia’s economy will rebound to its pre-crisis level by the middle of 2012 and receive a “powerful” boost from hosting the 2018 soccer World Cup, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on a live TV call-in show today.
Putin, who flew to Zurich on Dec. 3 to claim victory in the World Cup bidding, said the event would help upgrade roads, airports and railway stations in Russia’s European economic heartland.
“It’ll be an entirely positive influence on the future of the country,” Putin, 58, said during the program, which received more than 2 million questions in the first 150 minutes, with social issues, housing and labor receiving the most attention. Half a million inquiries were sent in before the call-in, broadcast live on state television, radio and the Internet.
Putin, who has maintained his annual tradition of the hours-long nationwide broadcasts since handing over the presidency in 2008 to his protege, Dmitry Medvedev, continues to occupy much of the limelight as the 2012 elections approach.
The premier, who backed Medvedev as his successor because of a constitutional ban on three consecutive presidential terms, hasn’t ruled out returning to the presidency.
Russia’s recovery from last year’s 7.9 percent contraction was hindered by a record heat wave and wildfires, which killed more than 50 people, devastated agricultural output, forced some manufacturers to halt production and hurt consumer demand. Gross domestic product may grow 3.8 percent this year, compared with an average growth rate of almost seven percent from 1999-2008, Putin said. Read more of this article »
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ZURICH (AP) — Sepp Blatter insists FIFA is not corrupt, saying world soccer’s governing body just needs to improve its image following World Cup hosting votes tainted by allegations of corruption.
FIFA’s president fiercely defended his organization in a Swiss magazine interview, and denounced England for reacting like an arrogant bad loser after Russia and Qatar were chosen to stage the 2018 and 2022 tournaments.
“I’ll say it clearly: there is no systematic corruption at FIFA. That’s nonsense,” Blatter told the Weltwoche weekly. “We are financially clean and transparent.”
FIFA’s ethics court suspended two of Blatter’s executive committee colleagues from taking part in last Thursday’s balloting after a British newspaper alleged bribe–taking and vote–rigging.
Blatter then reminded FIFA voters immediately before polling about media “evils” during the World Cup campaign.
Within 24 hours of a humiliating rejection, officials from England’s 2018 bid also accused several voters of breaking promises of support they gave to a lobbying team that included Prince William and Prime Minister David Cameron.
Blatter said he was surprised by the reaction in England, which he called “the motherland of fair play.”
“Now some of them are proving to be bad losers themselves,” he said. “I sense in some reactions a little bit of arrogance of the western, Christian kind.”
Leaders of Australia’s defeated 2022 bid also cited broken promises after they followed England in another first–round elimination.
However, Blatter defended FIFA for choosing the riskiest, most expensive bids, which saw the World Cup hosting rights awarded to Eastern Europe and the Middle East for the first time.
“It’s my philosophy to drive forward the expansion of football. The next regions that we need to conquer would be China and India,” Blatter said. “Football has become a political matter. Heads of state court me. Football has become a monster, but it’s a positive monster.”
Blatter dismissed suggestions that FIFA officials are tempted to cash in on soccer’s global popularity.
“Nobody can come along and simply hold out their hand. There are no rotten eggs,” he said.
Three days before the vote, Britain’s state broadcaster, the BBC, and newspapers in Switzerland and Germany alleged that three long–standing members of FIFA’s ruling committee took kickbacks from its former marketing partner in the 1990s.
Blatter dismissed the alleged payments as insignificant.
“Fifteen years ago, there were apparently payments to foreign FIFA officials that weren’t even illegal at the time and were even tax deductible,” he said, adding that the ethics panel now monitored such behavior.
While defending FIFA’s system of choosing World Cup hosts, Blatter said the organization he has led for 12 years would now “look inward” before making changes.
“We can’t go on like this. We need to improve our image,” he said. “We also need to set some things straight inside FIFA.”
Posted in 2018 news
December 11 – Sergei Fursenko, the President of the Russian Football Union (RFU), has claimed that nationalist organisations were behind violent clashes involving Spartak Moscow fans that today claimed the life of one fan and left another 29 injured. Read more of this article »
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The big guns were out in force last week, with Prince William, David Cameron and David Beckham all in Zurich to help give England’s 2018 bid one final push, with the bookmakers making them strong favourites to claim enough FIFA votes to host the World Cup for a second time.
As it turned out, England weren’t remotely close to winning the bid and finished last behind Russia, Spain / Portugal and Holland / Belgium, something which caused outrage among the British media, which incidentally had been blamed as the reason why the bid was lost in the first place. Read more of this article »
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Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, has taken revenge on FIFA. England struggles with the choice to organize the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Citizen Father of the British capital has already taken revenge on FIFA president Sepp Blatter and co.
The 2012 Olympics will be held in London. Johnson initially invited delegates from FIFA to stay in the expensive hotel The Dorchester. The FIFA, however, showed the organization of the 2018 World Cup to Russia, and Johnson withdrew his invitation. Blatter and his men will now have to find another place during the week they stay in Britain.
Johnson invited Blatter and co to a charm offensive to get the World Cup. The rooms at The Dorchester Hotel were one thousand pounds (12,000 euros) per night special available for FIFA members. The 2018 World Cup, however, went to Russia, and Johnson retract this offer.
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The result of the ballot for the allocation of World Cup 2018 was known a day in advance by the Russian delegation, claims The Sun. The British tabloid reports that the Russian ambassador Alexey Sorokin knew the outcome of the World Cup on Wednesday.
The Sun UK cites a source who had spoken to Sorokin Wednesday, “Sorokin, knew that Russia clearly had enough votes to win. He told the England team that he knew the outcome of the vote. The 2018 World Cup came to Russia .
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was not present at the Russian presentation, according to Sorokin, because he already knew the outcome with confidence and he could return home.
Posted in 2018 news