The Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ has staged an exhibit focusing on Russia’s hosting of the world’s premier football tournament in five years’ time. The event took place in Moscow between 26 and 28 March, as part of the annual Sport exhibition show.
Visitors were given the chance to learn more about the vision underpinning Russia’s hosting of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, to explore all 11 of the tournament’s host cities through a virtual tour and to study sketches of the 12 stadiums where, five years from now, the best teams on the planet will be battling it out for the FIFA World Cup trophy.
Attending the launch of the exhibit was Russia’s Sports Minister and the chairman of the Russia 2018 LOC, Vitaly Mutko. Commenting on preparations for Russia 2018, he focused in particular on the building of the stadiums for FIFA’s showpiece event.
“As everyone knows, five of the 12 arenas for the World Cup are already under construction,” Mutko said. “In the seven cities where construction work is yet to get under way, we’ve already had the tenders for the stadium designs. In taking these projects forward, Russian companies will be working alongside leading foreign firms of designers. As well as their other projects, these foreign firms designed the stadiums for the World Cups in Germany and South Africa, and they’ve got a good grasp of FIFA’s requirements. As soon as April, we’re expecting to hear which designs have been chosen for four of the stadiums – in Volgograd, Ekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod and Rostov-on-Don. The design work for these arenas should be complete by the end of the year. As we build these stadiums, we’ll be making use of the successful experience they’ve had in Kazan, where the arena is scheduled to enter into commission very soon.”
This was the first time Muscovites have had the opportunity to visit the Russia 2018 exhibit, and it was open to all. One of the features that were especially popular with younger visitors was a display of official FIFA World Cup footballs, from the classic black-and-white Telstar used in Mexico in 1970 to the super-high-tech Jabulani, one of the symbols of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. The best-informed visitors were given the chance to take part in a quiz and test their knowledge of the history of the FIFA World Cup and the history of Russian football, with the winners earning nice mementoes.
Among the visitors to the exhibit were a number of stars from Russian sport, such as athlete Marina Kuptsova, a world and European championship medallist in the high jump. “Our country knows how to organise the biggest sporting events and to do so at the very highest level,” Kuptsova said. “I’m speaking as a sportswoman who was lucky enough to take part in major international athletics championships. So I’m sure that Russia will be able to organise as big a tournament as the FIFA World Cup.”
Also visiting the exhibit and happy to share his views on Russia 2018 was four-time Olympic swimming champion Alexander Popov. “In terms of sporting and social infrastructure, the World Cup is massively important for our country,” Popov said. “Hotels, airports, new roads – that’s what the tournament’s legacy will be for Russians. But as well as that, it’s extremely important that our national team should perform well in front of their own fans. I’m hoping that, in 2018, I’ll be able to savour our team’s performances against the world’s strongest sides, both in my home town of Ekaterinburg and in the other host cities.”