Sunday, September 30, 2012

11 Russian cities to host the 2018 football championship

11 Russian cities to host the 2018 football championship[/caption]

The International Federation of Football Associations, or FIFA for short, has determined what Russian cities will host the world football championship of 2018. FIFA chose 11 cities, corresponding with the number of players in a football team – Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Ekaterinburg, Nizhniy Novgorod, Samara, Rostov-on-Don, Kaliningrad, Volgograd and Saransk.

Thus, in 2018, football fans from all over the world will get an opportunity not only to enjoy football battles, but also to learn more about Russia’s geography. To get to all the matches, they will have to travel thousands of kilometers from Russia’s west to the east – from Kaliningrad, Russia’s most western city, to Ekaterinburg in the Ural Mountains, and from the north to the south – from St. Petersburg to Sochi.

“The list of cities which FIFA chose embraces nearly the entire territory of Russia, which is the world’s largest country,” Russian sports observer Artyom Lokalov says.

“This is probably why the commission excluded the city of Krasnodar,” Artyom Lokalov supposes. “Krasnodar is the capital of the region where Sochi is located, and the commission probably didn’t want to hold the championship’s events in two cities of the same region. The same is probably true about Yaroslavl – most likely, it was excluded because it is not far from Moscow. Instead of it, Saransk, the capital of the Mordovian Autonomous Republic, was chosen.”

Of course, it was not only the geographical location of the cities that determined FIFA’s choice. Representatives of the federation have visited all the cities that sought to be the championship’s hosts, and examined the condition of sports facilities there. They examined how convenient it would be to hold the championship’s events in this or that particular city for the athletes, for fans and for the city’s residents.

An expert in football Andrey Maslennikov says:

“FIFA has very high demands concerning the condition of a city’s sports infrastructure – both the current state of the sports facilities and the city’s prospects for developing them and building new ones. And, of course, FIFA takes not only a city’s sports facilities into account, but also the roads, the hotels, the services and so on.”

The right to hold the championship’s opening match was given to the famous Moscow stadium Luzniki. One of the world’s largest stadiums, Luzhniki was built in 1956 and reconstructed several times since then. It will be reconstructed again for the 2018 football championship.

Another stadium in Moscow which will host the championship’s events will be “Spartak” in the city’s northwest. This stadium is still being constructed, but it is expected to be ready by the winter of 2014.

St. Petersburg, Saransk, Kazan and Sochi are now building new stadiums for the championship. Besides, all the cities which will host the championship – except, probably, Moscow, St. Petersburg and Sochi – will have to build new hotels, restaurants and highways.

All the cities that will host the championship can boast of many historic monuments and sites. Each of these cities has been included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List. However, if the historic monuments of Moscow and St. Petersburg are famous all over the world, much fewer people have heard, say, about the powerful 16th century fortress in Nizhniy Novgorod or Stalin’s emergency shelter in Samara. Each city will prepare a cultural program for the sportsmen and guests for the time of the championship.

It was in December 2010 that Russia received the right to host the 2018 football championship, leaving behind the UK and the joint requests from Spain and Portugal and from the Netherlands and Belgium.

32 national teams will take part in the championship. Russia, as the championship’s host, will have the right to take part in the championship in any case.

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