Russia shapes up its preparations for 2018

The 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ is continuing to take shape, with the Local Organising Committee (LOC) officially submitting to FIFA on 20 November the concept for hosting the key matches of its flagship event.

During the LOC Board meeting in Saint Petersburg, Moscow was proposed to stage the Opening Match, one semi-final and the Final at the Luzhniki Stadium. It was also proposed that the second semi-final would be held at Saint Petersburg’s stadium, which is currently being built on Krestovskiy Island.

The Venice of the north, as Saint Petersburg is often called, was also put forward as the venue for the Opening Match and FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017 decider.  Together with Spartak Stadium, Kazan and Sotchi, four venues have been proposed to host the 'Festival of Champions' in June 2017.  The FIFA Executive Committee will now review the proposals at its next meeting in Tokyo on 14 December 2012.

“Proposing Moscow and Saint Petersburg, the cradle of Russian football by the way, as the stage for the key matches of these two major FIFA events is an important operational decision for the LOC. It is part of our milestone achievements, and our preparations are already in full swing. We look forward to the validation of our suggestions in December so we can continue our mission,” said LOC Chairman and Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, who chaired the meeting along with FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke and LOC CEO Alexey Sorokin.

While preparations for its own major events are continuously picking up pace, Russia plans to provide its citizens with a taste of what they can expect in 2017 and 2018 by hosting the first FIFA Fan Fests on Russian soil during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™. The first conceptional ideas were discussed during today’s meeting, and further discussions will now follow with the potential host cities in the next few months to decide on the best options.

“To be able to be part of a FIFA World Cup in your home country is a very special and rare opportunity. The FIFA Fan Fests in 2014 will be an appetizer of what Russians and the world will experience in 2017 and 2018. It is fantastic to see the great excitement among the host cities and the Russians already,” said the FIFA Secretary General, who added: “We are well on track but at the same time we have a long way to go as there are many tasks to be fulfilled and a great deal of infrastructure to be created here in Russia to prepare the perfect stage for the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the FIFA Confederations Cup one year earlier.”

Arena 2018, the appointed stadium monitoring branch of the LOC, also provided an initial overall stadium update following the host city announcement on 28 September 2012. Five FIFA World Cup stadiums (Kazan, Saint Petersburg, Saransk, Sochi, Spartak Stadium) are already under construction and another four (Ekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don, Volgograd) will be launched for the design stage by the end of this year. The remaining three stadium projects will be launched early next year at the latest.

Furthermore, the LOC reported on its cooperation with the FIFA World Cup host city regions to assess hotels and training sites as well as to identify potential locations to serve as team base camps during the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Also discussed was the sales process for the sponsorship packages and the TV rights particularly related to the Russian market as well as the creation of the official emblem and the official slogan. For the development of the official marks, the visual postcards of Russia, the LOC and FIFA are discussion ideas on how to involve the Russian population in the creative process.

Today’s meeting concluded the official events for 2012 in Russia, although the LOC will continue its knowledge management mission at the Official Draw for the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 in São Paulo on 1 December 2012. Other major milestones for the LOC in 2012 included attending the stadium management workshop for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Fortaleza, as well as participating in the 2014 stadium inspection visits.

Next year, the LOC plans to actively participate in the observer programme at the Festival of Champions, as the FIFA Confederations Cup is known, taking place in six Brazilian host cities from 15 to 30 June 2013.

The board, whose role is to jointly govern the preparations for Russia 2018 together with FIFA, is scheduled to convene next in October 2013 in Kazan.