Russia Promises Spectacular World Cup
Daily News, 29.12.2017
1. How is the mood among the Russian people as the date for hosting the FIFA World Cup approaches?
Russia is the world's largest country by territory with a population of 146 million. More than half of the population are football fans or at least follow the sport occasionally. The World Cup next year is going to be held in Russia for the first time. It explains the close attention and high expectations that Russian people share ahead of the tournament. The preparations are going pretty well. On Friday December 1, the Final Draw for the 2018 World Cup took place at the State Kremlin Palace in Moscow with participation of the Russian President Vladimir Putin and football stars from all over the world. When opening the ceremony, President Putin said that Russia is eager for the World Cup to start and intends to make it an event of the highest quality, where leading world football players will be able to show their mastery of the game, to show real big football.
2. Are the preparations for hosting the World Cup, in terms of stadiums and security logistics, on schedule?
12 stadiums in 11 cities across the European part of Russia will host matches of the tournament. Five arenas are already in working order. Four venues – Spartak Stadium in Moscow, Kazan Arena, Saint Petersburg Stadium and Fisht Stadium in Sochi – were already used for the FIFA Confederations Cup in June 2017. Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium – the main venue for the 2018 World Cup and where the Opening Match and Final will be held – recently reopened following major reconstruction for a friendly match between Russia and Argentina.
Preparations have entered their final stages at the tournament's seven other stadiums, and soon they too will be ready to welcome supporters from all over the world. All sports facilities have been successfully inspected by FIFA. In the course of reconstruction, the best practices for innovative design solutions and aspects of stadium management and operation were taken into account.
While visiting Moscow, FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura said she had no doubt that the 2018 FIFA World Cup would be a “great treat for every visitor who comes to Russia”
3. What measures have the Russian government and FIFA put in place to make the World Cup an exciting experience for international supporters who will be going to watch the tournament in Russia?
We hope that Russia will offer international visitors the most dynamic possible experience of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Spectators, athletes and officials will enjoy a rich and varied experience amid the unique geography and diverse cultures of the host cities.
During the championship, a wide public transport network will be available to fans. The guests will be able to use public transport free of charge within cities, transfer from the airport to the city, and also intercity trains. More than 500 additional trains will be provided during the World Cup. For ease of navigation and to help fans find their transport quicker, it will be marked with a specially designed logo.
An interesting innovation of Russia as the World Cup host country is a FAN ID. It is a personalized map of a spectator, which every person who bought a ticket to 2018 FIFA World Cup matches should obtain. A FAN ID gives the right to travel for free between the host cities, and also on city public transport (buses, trolleybuses, trams, underground), on suburban trains and aeroexpress trains that connect airports with the city centre. A FAN ID grants foreign citizens a visa-free entry to the territory of Russia during the tournament.
4. Have ticket sales started? If yes how well are they progressing?
Fans from all around the world can apply for 2018 FIFA World Cup tickets through the official platform FIFA.com/tickets. From 5 December 2017 to 31 January 2018, fans can order individual match tickets for all matches (except for the opening match and final) and venue-specific tickets for all stadiums, as well as supporter tickets for official fans of the 32 teams. During the last phase of sales, this will be supplemented by FIFA World Cup Ticketing Centres in the host cities. One should not forget that to get to the FIFA World Cup matches, you will need a FAN ID, in addition to the ticket. All foreign citizens may submit electronic applications through the special website www.fan-id.ru.
Ticket sales are going well. According to FIFA, over 2,300,000 tickets have been requested since 5 December. We know that some of Botswana citizens have already bought tickets and are getting prepared to go to Russia.
5. Give us information about the ticket prices for group matches, knockout matches and the final.
There are altogether 4 categories of tickets at the World Cup. Category 4 is reserved exclusively for residents of Russia, while the rest is available to all customers. The prices have been set by FIFA. A ticket for a group match costs from 105 to 210 US dollars. As for playoffs, prices vary significantly depending on the category and round. The cheapest tickets for quarter-finals as well as the 3rd/4th place match cost 175 USD, for semi-finals – 285 USD. To visit the final match, one will have to pay from 455 to 1,100 USD.
6. Give us any information (cultural and historical) you can share with us about the host cities.
The World Cup will be held in 11 cities: Moscow, Kaliningrad, Saint Petersburg, Volgograd, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, Saransk, Rostov-on-Don, Sochi and Yekaterinburg. Spanning an area about the size of all of Western Europe, the 11 host cities each offer a distinct perspective into Russia. They all have places of historic and cultural interest and may be attractive from a tourist point of view, in addition to sport. Some of them have UNESCO world heritage sites. It would take too long to describe here every city individually, but respective information is easily available in the Internet, particularly at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia tourist portal welcome2018.com.
By the way, each host city will be represented by elected ambassadors - famous people who were either born in those cities, or are somehow related to them. Their mission is to promote sports and healthy lifestyles.
7. Share with us any additional information which you may want us to share with local readers.
We would like to ensure the readers once again that the Russian Federation is fully committed to holding a successful World Cup in June-July 2018. Everything is in place to turn it into a true celebration of football. At the final draw in Moscow, FIFA President Gianni Infantino expressed confidence that Russia 2018 would be the best World Cup ever. We shall hope so and invite football lovers from Botswana to join. Welcome aboard!