Russia unveil 2014 kit at stunning gala evening in Moscow
© AFP

Current members of the Russian national team, Soviet footballing legends, football officials and stars from Russian TV gathered in a picturesque suburb of Moscow to celebrate the signing of a new partnership agreement between FIFA and adidas, world leaders in sporting goods.

The strong, long-standing relationship between the two partners, which today was extended until 2030, was reinforced with a firm handshake between the German sportswear giant’s CEO, Herbert Hainer, and FIFA’s Marketing Director, Thierry Weil.

“We are proud that, over many years, we have been part of World Cups as FIFA partners,” Hainer said from the stage. This is the world’s biggest sporting event, and our company is a clear leader in the world of football.  Football is part of adidas’s DNA, and we are always ready to share our passion for the game with millions of fans right around the world.”

Noting adidas’s contribution to the development of football, Weil provided a reminder of the company’s programmes with FIFA: “With the help of our joint street football programmes, millions of children and teenagers around the world have found their way in to this particular sport.”

By extending its partnership with FIFA, adidas will be global football’s partner for the 2018 FIFA World CupTM, which for the first time ever will be taking place in Russia. “I’m pleased to be able to say that Russian football has been given a key role in this partnership,” said the CEO of the Russia 2018 LOC, Alexey Sorokin. “Clearly our aim is to stage the best World Cup in history. But it’s extremely important for us that, whichever nation hoists the FIFA World Cup in 2018, Russian football wins out from this tournament.”

Weil presented the President of the Russian Football Union, Nikolay Tolstykh, with a commemorative symbol the Russian team will be able to print on its kit, to recognise Russia’s defence of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Tahiti in September.  

“I’m convinced that Russian football has a big future ahead of it,” Tolstykh said from the stage. Youth and under-21 football has made significant progress in our country in recent years, as you can see from our national teams’ recent achievements. Next summer our full national team will be taking part in the World Cup for the first time in 12 years in Brazil, and I believe Russia will give a good account of itself.”

The 2014 World Cup in Brazil was one of the evening’s main themes. The approach of this massive festival of football and the heat of the blazing Brazilian sunshine could be felt even on what was a chilly Moscow evening, with samba ringing out from the stage and girls donning carnival costumes.

James Carnes, Creative Director adidas Sport Performance, unveiled the new football boots that will be worn by leading footballers from the countries represented at the 2014 World Cup. The likes of Argentina’s Lionel Messi, Spain’s Xavi Hernandez, Brazil’s Oscar and Germany’s Mesut Ozil will be delighting the fans with their elegant feints and beautiful goals. Stunning 3D clips drew a particularly tumultuous reaction from the young players training with Russian clubs who filled the auditorium.

The gala evening culminated with the launch of the kit the Russian national team, coached by Fabio Capello, will be wearing at the upcoming World Cup. All the national team players came out onto the stage wearing the dark red kit, the same colour as the Kremlin walls. Capello shouted “Let’s go!” symbolically launching preparations for the tournament. “Events such as these definitely play an important role for the team. They help you feel the extent of the responsibility resting with the footballers. After all, they’re going to be representing their country at the world’s best football tournament.”