Russia 2018 stresses fan focus at IFA summit

The chief executive of the Local Organising Committee for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, Alexey Sorokin, has taken part in the Financial Times/International Football Arena summit in Rio de Janeiro on 17 June, where he spoke about the initiatives that will help to make Russia 2018 special for supporters.

For the first time, the heads of three FIFA World Cup local organising committees were gathered around the same table: the chief executive of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ LOC, Ricardo Trade; the chief executive of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™ Supreme Committee, Hassan Abdulla Al Thawadi; and Russia 2018 LOC CEO Alexey Sorokin.

Sorokin said: “The future of football depends on fans coming first. Every decision we have made has been to create the best possible experience for both Russian and foreign fans attending the first ever FIFA World Cup in Russia.”

Over the last few months, preparations for Russia 2018 have been punctuated by several important events, including the adoption of a federal law on preparations for the tournament. Sorokin highlighted the document’s importance for supporters and for organisers involved in preparing for FIFA’s showpiece event.

Sorokin added: “The adoption of this law should be excellent news for football fans dreaming of attending the planet’s biggest sporting event. The law provides two unprecedented guarantees designed to make travelling to Russia in 2018 as convenient and diverse as possible for supporters. Ticket-holders for Russia 2018 matches will be able to enter the country without visas, and, on match days, they’ll be able to use overground public transport for free to travel between the host cities.”

“The FIFA World Cup Law is unprecedented in Russian legislature and gives us a strong foundation for delivering our hosting platform on time, on budget and to all FIFA standards.”

Sorokin also mentioned another initiative. Last week, the Russian government adopted an infrastructure programme for the 2018 FIFA World Cup worth 664.1 billion roubles, of which 226bn roubles will come from funding sources other than the public purse. The CEO of the Russia 2018 LOC stressed the importance of the programme: “The infrastructure programme includes the construction of airports, hotels and transport and medical infrastructure. People will be able to use these many years after the World Cup has come and gone. Improving the lives of people through the transformation that football can bring is part of the future of this beautiful game.”

This is the first time that three host countries are preparing for FIFA World Cups at the same time. Next year Brazil will host the 2014 FIFA World Cup. In 2018, Russia will host the planet’s biggest football tournament for the first time. Russia 2018 will feature 11 host cities: Moscow, St Petersburg, Kaliningrad, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, Saransk, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Sochi and Ekaterinburg.