With the wheels beginning to turn ahead 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, the Kaliningrad 2018 forum, held on 23-24 March, saw people come together and focus on the city’s preparations for the global event. Delegates discussed the construction of a stadium and plans to develop the city’s transport and sports infrastructure ahead of 2018.
The proposed location for the FIFA World Cup stadium would see it situated on the Oktyabrsky island, with six different concepts for the island’s development were presented at the forum. The concepts were drawn up by experts from firms of architects in Russia, Germany, Poland, France and the UK, and they cover the design and equipping of the stadium, as well as integrated development plans for the island. The projects offer a range of redevelopment options, ranging from housing to parkland.
The deputy head of the Kaliningrad Region government, Roman Skoryy, who is supervising the region’s preparations for Russia 2018, stated that the regional organising committee would be selecting one of the six concepts presented by the end of April. “I have to admit that almost all the projects presented at our forum offered solutions which pleasantly surprised us. Each one is logical in its essence. What’s especially important is that these concepts aren’t just designed to capture the imagination of football fans around the world, but also take account of the city’s long-term development needs,” Skoryy stressed.
The two-day forum also featured My Kaliningrad 2018, a business competition for young people. Students from the city’s higher education institutions drew up plans to accommodate guests for Russia 2018, organise fan festivals, promote Russia 2018 in Kaliningrad Region and welcome people who will be coming by car from neighbouring countries to watch matches at FIFA’s showpiece event.
The competition jury awarded first place to a group of students who proposed staging a fan festival in Kaliningrad and three of its satellite towns – Sovetsk, Yantarnyy and Gusev.
“I’m actually a really keen fan and a major devotee of football. So for me it’s very important that, during the World Cup, Kaliningrad feels like it’s in the grip of a major festival, and that our guests should take pleasure in the tournament and the city. I hope that the ideas we put forward in our concept will make this festival unforgettable,” said Nikita Pavlov, one of the victorious students.