LOC and FIFA inspection tour kicks off in Krasnodar
© LOC

A delegation made up of senior members of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ Local Organising Committee (LOC) and experts from FIFA began a series of inspections on 10 April 2012 as part of the process of selecting the host cities for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The first city the inspection group visited was Krasnodar.

Heading the delegation on the LOC’s behalf was its CEO, Alexey Sorokin, while FIFA was represented by its head of department for the 2014, 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups, Jurgen Muller.

The delegation began its inspection visit to Krasnodar by taking a look around Pashkovsky Airport, where they were shown plans for the building of a new terminal and the reconstruction of the runway in time for Russia 2018. Reconstruction work at the airport is due to begin this year and will be completed in 2016. Modernising the airport will increase its capacity to 2,200 passengers an hour, in line with FIFA requirements.

The delegation also examined the planned location for the FIFA World Cup stadium, a site covering 44 hectares in the north of Krasnodar. Construction of the arena, which will hold 50,000 spectators, is scheduled to begin next year. The visit by the FIFA and LOC experts coincided with the final stages of the tender for the design of the stadium, featuring five consortia of architects from Russia, the USA, the UK, Germany and Turkey. The delegation studied all five designs, and the winner of the tender will be announced by the end of the week.  

The aim of these inspections is to assess how well the candidate cities which will be entrusted with Russia 2018 have prepared.
Russia 2018 LOC CEO Alexey Sorokin

“Construction of Krasnodar’s stadium for Russia 2018 will begin in late 2013,” said Krasnodar Territory’s chief architect, Yury Rysin, as he presented the designs for the new stadium to the LOC and FIFA representatives. “Given the complex and unique nature of the work, we will try to do the whole thing in two-and-a-half to three years. At the moment 2018 seems a long way off, but that time will pass by unnoticed. Once the facility has been handed over, we will need to find time to stage test events,” he added.

The delegation also paid a visit to Krasnodar’s Teatralnaya Square, which has been identified as the venue for a Russia 2018 Fan Fest. The square can hold up to 55,000 supporters, and it has a large screen that can be used to show football matches. There are additional plans to install two further screens there in 2018, each measuring 10 by 13 metres. FIFA’s experts were also impressed by their visit to the situations centre at Krasnodar’s central control room, which gathers video from 250 CCTV cameras around the city to provide information about what is happening on the streets.

The visit ended with a presentation outlining Krasnodar’s concept for FIFA’s showpiece event. Officials from the regional authorities pointed out the strong economic growth Krasnodar has enjoyed over the past five years, as well as the city’s burgeoning appeal as a tourist destination. Some one million tourists per year now visit Krasnodar, and the number of hotel rooms in the city has doubled since 2007.

“Our visit to Krasnodar was the first in a series of inspections by FIFA and the LOC,” said LOC CEO Alexey Sorokin. “The aim of these inspections is to assess how well the candidate cities which will be entrusted with Russia 2018 have prepared. Our trip to Krasnodar has been very productive. FIFA’s experts raised some wide-ranging issues which gave both the LOC and the region’s representatives plenty of food for thought. This would suggest that Krasnodar may need to work out some of the details of its concept in greater depth. Overall, our discussions with the city’s representatives were very constructive,” Sorokin added.

The same evening, the LOC and FIFA delegation left for Sochi, where it will continue its work on Wednesday.