That’s our regularly updated flow of World Cup 2018 short news about tickets, prices, forecasts, stadiums, fans’ stay in Russia and travelling throughout the country as well as jokes and anecdotes. Some St. Petersburg-related news are linked to larger posts.
Special protection rules may be introduced in WC 2018 hosting cities. Residents will be prohibited from burning dry grass and leaves, organize barbecues and conduct other activities involving open fire. It remains to be seen how all these measures will be enforced as doing barbecues (cooking shashlik, or grilled meat) is very popular among Russians.
National teams have various demands for how their stay in Russia during the WC 2018 must be organized. Some teams wanted a six meter high fence to be erected around their training pitches (England, South Korea), some ordered play stations (England, Portugal). Improved or additional furniture, ice chambers, TV sets and pillow-top mattresses don’t sound really surprising given the fact that players and staff will definitely need capacities to rehabilitate and entertain themselves. But some wishes expressed by teams look a bit weird. As Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper reported, the Portuguese want the color of walls of their camping changed, the Argentines also wanted another design of their rooms, the Koreans ordered table-tennis equipment, while the Brazilians are going to consume 200 kilograms of ice a day in the ice chambers. The Nigerians (just like the English) will bring a cook to serve the team. They also asked for some food which usually is not sold in Russia. Germany surprised with food too: they want supply of almond milk and rice milk. Thanks a lot they have not asked Apfelwein. Hope they will bring it with themselves.
St. Petersburg’s branch of the Russia’s Federal Ministry of Internal Affairs (the police ministry) reached out to the psychology faculty of the St. Petersburg State University asking for assistance in psychological training of police psychologists deployed during the tournament. A ministry’s official in a letter to the university asked for help in prevention and response to provocations, handling stress and prevention of deviant behavior.
The prominent soccer predictor, the author of the «Soccermatics», David Sumpter has published his evaluations of chances for each team to win the World Cup. Nothing unexpected for the top five which are headed by Germany and followed by Brazil, then go France, Spain and Argentina. But perhaps you will be surprised by the place #6 in Sumpter’s chances rating…
A special personal chef will be cooking for the team England during their stay in Russia to avoid possible poisoning, for example, like the one which happened to the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal. Russia is suspected of having organized the crime. Moreover, the British will bring their own some kinds of food while those supplied from Russian companies will be tested by a catering team, the Sun reported.
British ministers and members of the UK Royal family will not visit Russia during the World Cup 2018 over the scandal with the attempted murder of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal. The British government also issued a warning for UK citizens willing to attend the matches, though «the British Embassy in Moscow is not aware of any increased difficulties for British people travelling in Russia at this time». Comment from St. Petersburg Travel Guide: While any call to be cautious is always useful and right, the fears expressed by the Foreign Office look more like funny publications in the British press about the practicalities of everyday life in Russia.
More than 100,000 football fans from 120 countries booked free tickets for trains between hosting cities of the World Cup 2018. Russians are explainable ranked 1st in the rating by the number of tickets, followed by the Columbians, Chinese and Americans.
The main stadium of the WC 2018, Luzhniki (Moscow), where the final game to be played on 15 July 2018, is awarded the Best Stadium 2017 prize by experts of the StadiumDB portal. One more WC’s stadium – Saint Petersburg (dubbed as Zenit Arena and Krestovsky stadium is ranked 8th by the Jury vote. The public vote ranked Krestovsky 5th and Luzhniki 8th.
Authorities of a few Russian regions, where games of the WC will be played, ordered establishment special departments in hospitals to deal with drunken football fans. In a few cities, Saransk, Samara and Nizhny Novgorod, special sobering stations exist. St. Petersburg’s official earlier also voiced an idea to build such a station, but there is still no information on the progress.
The total number of seats at 12 stadiums where WC 2018 games will be played is 579,000.
The England, Costa Rica and South Korea teams asked to build six meter fences around their training camps near St. Petersburg where they will reside during the group stage. There are two meter fences now, but the playing fields are surrounded by houses, and the teams don’t want to get spied. Come on, guys, surprise us.
The video assistant referee system will be used during the matches of the WC 2018 thus making it the first World Cup in the history implementing video replays.
The volunteer squad at the WC 2018 consists of 17040 persons from 112 countries with the age of 18 to 80. Among them are a former player of the FC Rostov (a team playing in the Russia’s highest Premier League), a grandmother with her grandson, a captain of an oil tanker, a man from a New Zealand city of Masterton who will have to travel 16,000 km to Russia. Totally, 176,870 applications were registered, a record in the history of the world tournaments.
One firth of the Iceland’s population applied for tickets for the games of the WC 2018, an Iceland’s envoy to Russia said.
The Russian Ministry of Transport insisted Russian parliament pass a bill which makes it possible to shoot down unregistered and unauthorized drones before the start of the tournament. The ministry says the move will help to enhance security during the WC.
A top-ranked official at the Russia’s Ministry of Agriculture said that locusts can harm football fields designed to host WC 2018 matches. While there were no any evidence that locusts will be abounding this summer or that they were going to target the fields in some special way (except the fact that they love green fields), the official nonetheless expressed some concerns about possible attacks by this kind of insect. No any special instructions on handling the threat have also been issued.
A cat Achilles from the Hermitage will be predicting results of WC 2018 games conducted in St. Petersburg. The cat is very calm and deaf, so a lot of public would hardly disturb his intuition. Last year, when the Confederations Cup 2017 took place in Russia, Achilles also worked as an oracle and made the right choice for all the games except only one which ended in a draw – the result which the cat was not able to opt for (he only can bet on a victory of one of teams).
Fraudsters may buy decommissioned ATMs to install them in public places to get tourists’ card data with the help of scamming equipment, the Bank of Russia warned in a statement. While that’s true, it’s hardly imaginable that such ATMs can appear at airport, railway stations, big shopping malls, office centers and other entities like that. So, just use an ATM located inside a big building to avoid this kind of scam.
The Russia’s Central bank issued recommendations for holders of bank cards visiting Russia for the upcoming World Cup 2018. The advices are not that new, but it is never superfluous to repeat. They are: use ATMs in safe locations; never hand over your card to anybody; take receipts issued by an ATM with you and keep it; look for equipment which can mean that the ATM has been tampered; place your hand over the keypad to prevent anybody from seeing your PIN.
Federal Security Service (FSB ex KGB) has reportedly demanded that many plants and factories in the host cities of the Cup 2018 stop their work for the duration of the tournament. First of all, the demand is applied to production facilities dealing with hazardous materials. The Kommersant business paper wrote that some of the factories that had obtained letters from FSB are located a few hundred kilometers from cities. Plants and factories owners say the move will bring considerable losses.
Just 5200% is the figure by which Agora hotel has exceeded the limit price level set by the Russian government for accommodation during the Cup 2018, the Russian Agency for Tourism said. Other interesting figures are: 2581%, 399%, 187% and the like. The Agency made up a black list of the hotels which exceeded the governmental limits and it contains only 41 entities. No one hotel from St. Petersburg was on the list which is not surprising: the city has a lot of accommodation, the prices here are rather good and don’t need to be inflated, and St. Petersburg is flooded with tourists. No needed to make officials angry by ignoring their rules regarding the prices.
More than 110 million rubles (USD 2 million) were allocated by Russian authorities through tenders for killing homeless cats and dogs in 11 host cities where games of the FIFA World Cup 2018 will be held, Ekaterina Dmitrieva, the manager of the Fund for defense of city animals, a non-governmental organization, told the Radio Liberty. She also published FIFA’s official answer to the Fund’s letters about the problem. FIFA has refused to investigate the matter and take any action.
Special temporary shelters for homeless animals will be built for the duration of the WC 2018 in host cities. Two millions of homeless dogs live in these cities. It remains unclear though who and how will catch the animals in the street and who and how counted them.
More than 176,000 applications for the status of a volunteer of the World Cup 2018 were submitted by applicants from 190 countries. That’s a record number in the tournament’s history.
For the first time in the World Cups’ history, the opening match will be played by teams with the lowest positions in the FIFA rating among the participants: Russia (65th place) and Saudi Arabia (63rd place). They will meet in Moscow on June 14.
Representative of the FARE said they will write a guide for LGBR football fans who are going to visit Russia to warn them about types of behavior which Russians don’t like. First of all, it’s strongly recommended to avoid holding hands in public, the Guardian writes. Well, the FARE is right to some degree, as it’s not common in Russia to see two men holding hands or demonstrating their close relationships in any other way. Moreover, it’s forbidden by law, though no any LGBT people have been accused of or fined for that. Gays may face aggression from Orthodox activists as it happened to famous Austrian musical band Belphegor. Though two girls holding hands will likely go unnoticed.
Ragnar Sigurdsson (Ragnar Sigurðsson), Icelandic international defender, said in an interview with Russian news agency R-Sport that he would like Russian international team to be Iceland’s rival during the group stage as the chances for the Icelanders to come to play-offs are better in this case. “If we talk about advancing as further as possible, I’d choose the Russian team. Sorry, guys”, said Sigurdsson, now playing for Russia’s FC Rubin.
At the Euro 2016, Russia took 15th place of 16 participants with 1 draw with England and two defeats against Slovakia (1-2) and Wales (0-3) with aggregated 2-6.
Referees are entitled to stop games of the World Cup 2018 in cases of acts of racism by fans.
8.1 million flowers will be planted in St. Petersburg before the start of the World Cup 2018.
Russian students in host cities will be forced to leave their dormitories at the end of May as police and other securities will be accommodated there for the period of the tournament. Russian authorities say that student have nothing to worry about as all matters were envisaged and settled in advance. Students deny that any prior proper planning was implemented as many of them paid for their rooms till the end of July and were going to live in them throughout the summer. That’s an obviously great mistake of the authorities who should have thought over it a few years ago.
The St. Petersburg’s government has reserved 34,000 rooms in hotels against 14,000 required by FIFA. 50% of these rooms have already been booked. As we wrote, the Russian government has set price limits for accommodation for the WC 2018.
The oldest volunteer for the WC 2018 is more than 80 years old.
Russian national team is the worst in the FIFA’s ranking with 65th place, the best is (of course) Germany, №1 in the ranking.
More than 750,000 tickets for WC 2018 games have been sold at the moment. More than half was bought by Russia, followed by Argentines, Mexicans, Americans, Brazilians, Colombians, Chinese, Germans, Indians and Australians.
The most expensive team by the overall transfer value of its players (according to Trasfermarkt.de) is Brazil (671,5 million euro), followed by Spain (643 mln), Germany (636,5 mln), France (636,5). The team Russia is 17th (138,6 mln), the cheapest is Panama (just 5,25 mln).
Former Arsenal (London) and Zenit St. Petersburg’s player and Russian international, now playing for Kairat (Kazakhstan) Andrey Arshavin said he thinks that France has the best chance to win the WC 2018. “It’s a good young team with strong players”, he said in an interview.
Moscow traffic department staff will be trained to speak English (at least standard phrases) to be able to help football fans on the capital’s roads (fans will definitely need it).
St. Petersburg governor Georgy Poltavchenko ordered to establish a specialized sobering center for drunken football fans to separate them from “normal people” in ordinary hospitals.
River open-top ships will be cruising along the Moskva river in Moscow.