Less than a month remains until the main sport event of this year – the World Cup, which will be held from the 14th of June to the 15th of July 15 of 2018 in 11 cities of Russia. These days, close attention of fans is focused on various topics for discussion concerning the upcoming Championship, the most popular ones: forecasts of the results of football matches, security measures provided by the host country, the general situation in Russia. According to official data, for the World Cup in 2018, most foreign fans will come from the countries of Latin America. What do Latin Americans expect from the sport event of the planetary scale? How will Russia meet them in June?
According to various tourist portals, the greatest interest in the World Cup was shown by fans from Argentina, the United States, Britain, Germany and Switzerland. It is worth noting that the demand for air travel during the championship in Russia grew tenfold compared to last year. It is reported that about a quarter of all bookings of railway tickets and hotels realized by the tourists from Latin America. On the contrary, from the post-Soviet countries the inhabitants of Kazakhstan and Ukraine are most interested in the World Championship.
Among the 11 Russian cities where football matches will take place: Moscow, Rostov-on-Don, St. Petersburg, Samara and Yekaterinburg are the most popular air routes. First of all, the fans are eager to get to the opening ceremony, the match of the Russian and the Argentine national teams, as well as matches of other teams that will be held on weekends. Most foreign guests are expected in the first half of the championships: from June 17 to June 24. The peak dates will be the 20th of June and 21st of June – these days there will be matches Portugal-Morocco, France-Peru, Argentina-Croatia and others.
On the 4th of May, the Mexican newspaper “Economista” highlighted how on the eve of the World Cup in Russia the problem of racism is being solved. As the newspaper notes, Nigerian footballer Bryan Idovu, midfielder of the club “Amkar” personally faced this problem in Russia. Idovu is a pupil of the Russian team “ZENIT”, he shared with the publication his memory of training in “ZENIT”, when one of the fans of the football club allowed him to insult. At that time, the fan shouted: “In the colors of “ZENIT” there is no black. What is going on here, why are you wearing this shirt?” In his opinion, most football fans try to exert psychological pressure on black players during the matches, imitating the sounds of the monkey, possibly hoping that the player will be frightened and will not want to continue the game. However, Bryan Idovu is convinced that the situation in Russia has changed dramatically in recent years. Russians communicate with people from other countries, often go abroad and make friends there. Russian people have long been open and positive, and holding the World Cup in Russia in 2018 will only help improve the situation and will contribute to a new perception of modern Russia by the international community.
The Venezuelan periodical “Panorama” reported on the 5th of May that according to the head of the International Football Federation (FIFA) Gianni Infantino, Russia is totally ready for the 2018 World Cup. The publication quotes the head of FIFA during the meeting of the supervisory council of the World Cup: “Russia is completely ready to host the whole world and to spend an unforgettable holiday of football this summer”.
The most popular newspaper in Bolivia “La Razón” on the 20th of May accentuated the increased interest of Latin-American fans to the main sport event of the planet. Journalists of the newspaper tend to assume that such attention of the Bolivians to the World Cup is primarily due to the fact that it will take place in Russia, which in recent years has been actively developing bilateral relations with Bolivia and is one of its main partners. In addition, “La Razón” reported that the opening ceremony of the football championship, which will be held the 14th of June at the Stadium “Luzhniki” in Moscow, will also be visited by the Bolivian leader Evo Morales. As part of his visit to Russia, the Bolivian president will hold a working meeting with Vladimir Putin.
The Argentine periodical “La Nación” claims that the President Mauricio Macri will watch closely the World Cup in Russia. He intends to visit Russia twice during the championship – he will go to the qualifying games with his daughter and necessarily to the final, which, as Macri hopes, Argentina will be able to break through “with the help of God and Messi”.
The upcoming FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia intends to visit about 150 thousand fans from Latin America. This time, the teams from Latin America will be widely represented; teams of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, Peru and Uruguay will take part in the tournament, followed by not only an impressive landing of fans, but also a large number of volunteers. All of them are united by one – boundless passion for football.
The main task of the Russian government is to provide such a level of hospitality, so that the first acquaintance with Russia is not their last. The fact that the main effect of the FIFA World Cup is aimed at the future can be judged from the official data of a recently published study by the government of the Russian Federation and the consulting group “McKinsey”, which assessed the influence of the FIFA-2018 World Cup in Russia on the economic, social and environmental spheres. The total impact of the championship for the entire five-year period of active training (2013-2018), the study authors identified in 867 billion rubles, or about 1% of the annual value of the country’s GDP. It is noted that this is significantly higher than comparable indicators for most of the four preceding mundials. In Brazil (2014) and Germany (2006), the world championships in general had a negative impact on the national GDP, in Japan and South Korea (2002) the effect was 0.3 and 0.7%, respectively, and only in South Africa (2012) the championship brought a gain of 2%. In the future, the next five years, the annual effect of the championship on Russia’s GDP is estimated at 150-210 billion rubles, that is, under the optimal scenario, the mundial will bring the Russian economy about another trillion rubles.
What income in the long term will bring the championship is only to predict. However, the main issues that fans from all over the world are asking for on the eve of the main event of the planetary scale are the topics of safety, social security and transport infrastructure. The Minister of Sports Pavel Kolobkov declared his readiness to provide safe conditions for all fans at the World Cup in Russia. In his official statement on the 24th of May, the Minister of Sports Pavel Kolobkov noted that all the fans who are going to support their teams, without violating the law, will feel safe in Russia.