Alexey Sorokin, the CEO of the Local Organising Committee for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, spoke at the 76th annual AIPS Congress in Sochi on Thursday. Addressing leading sports journalists from 118 countries, he promised the tournament will be “a journey of discovery”.
Sorokin’s keynote speech took place in one of Sochi’s newly built hotels, overlooking the construction site of the new Fisht Stadium – venue for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Games, and matches at the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2017 and the following year's FIFA World Cup. Sorokin described Russia’s vision for the competition.
He said: “Three years ago in my presentation in Zurich, I quoted Sir Winston Churchill. He called Russia, ‘A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma’. I believe that the FIFA World Cup will finally break these clichés and open Russia to the world on an unparalleled scale.
"We expect around a million international visitors, and they will see that Russia is much more than Moscow and St Petersburg. Memories from Russia 2018 will live in their hearts, and that is the most important legacy. Russia’s first-ever FIFA World Cup will be a journey of discovery – for Russians, and for the entire football family.”
Sorokin also provided the latest news on key foundational projects, including the extensive infrastructure programme: 400 individual building projects have been identified and the Federal Government will launch construction this summer. The programme will cover stadiums, team base camps, transport infrastructure, hotels, IT and communications and security.
During the media Q&A after the presentation, Sorokin was asked to expand on the 2018 FIFA World Cup Law and the dedicated Fans Law, both of which recently passed their first reading in the State Duma.
He said: “The Fans Law in particular is brand new – there is nothing like it in Russian law. The objective is to demand greater responsibility on people attending football matches and help implement a new culture among Russian football fans.
"The 2018 FIFA World Cup Law will make the 11 guarantees we made during the bid phase part of Russian legislation. It will make organising the FIFA World Cup easier and facilitate the creation of infrastructure.”