In November 2016, the Moscow Government established a new department, the Department of Sport and Tourism. It is headed by Nikolai Gulyayev, who previously was the First Deputy Head of the Department of Physical Fitness and Sport. In an interview with mos.ru, he talked about the preparations for the upcoming international football tournaments – the Confederations Cup and the FIFA World Cup, the main matches of which will be held in Moscow. He said that football fans will enjoy over 100,000 of hotel rooms, some of which will be еven on the Moskva River, and excursions on stand-up scooters and Segways. Almost 2,000 volunteers have been registered for the tournaments.
Question: Mr Gulyayev, congratulations on your promotion. One of the main activities of the new department is to prepare the city for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2018 FIFA World Cup. What preparations is the department working on?
Nikolai Gulyayev: The Department of Sport and Tourism, which is the successor to the Moscow Sports Committee, has additional oversight over tourism and the hotel industry in Moscow. The city approved the general plan of preparations for the FIFA World Cup and a programme of events to be held as part of the cup.
This project involves several Moscow departments their work needs to be monitored and coordinated; and issues of security, construction and transport logistics need to be worked out. Thus, preparations for these championships require the consolidated participation of all interested city agencies in Moscow.
Question: Moscow will host the Confederations Cup next summer. What infrastructure will be built for this event?
Nikolai Gulyayev: The Confederations Cup is a global event that will involve the construction of sports, transport and tourist infrastructure and offer healthcare services.
As for sports facilities, Spartak Stadium and two pre-match training grounds – at CSKA Stadium and the FC Strogino stadium – have been opened. The third field, located near Spartak Stadium, is nearing completion: the finishing work is underway.
We’ll do our best to ensure transport accessibility to Spartak Stadium. Two additional express bus routes will be launched for the Confederations Cup, and the reconstruction of the Volokolamskoye Motorway will be completed by June 2017. As we all know, Spartak Stadium has already hosted international and domestic matches. So, it has been successfully used.
We are also preparing our key facility, Luzhniki Stadium, for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. In addition to the stadium, the complex will include three pre-match training grounds. It will include hospitality zones, business partner zones, the FIFA Congress, a volunteer centre, and more.
Renovation is underway at Luzhniki. It will be completed in the second quarter of 2017. The capacity of the stadium will be 81,000. In spite of the interior updates, we have preserved the historical facade of the building. In addition, it will be equipped with the world’s largest media screens on the ceiling.
Also, the FIFA Fan Fest will be held at Vorobyovy Gory in front of the main building of the Lomonosov Moscow State University. It is expected to admit up to 40,000 people. Also, an International broadcast Centre will open at the Crocus Expo.
It is possible to provide temporary accommodation on river ferries. We have already made arrangements with the ferry owners.
Question: What are the accommodation arrangements for the FIFA World Cup and Confederations Cup visitors? Will there be enough hotels and hostels?
Nikolai Gulyayev: The mandatory classification system has covered some 858 hotels in Moscow. Fifty more hotels will be built or renovated in 2017 and 2018. The city will be able to accommodate up to 108,000 people. The nearest hotels in the Moscow Region will also be available, which is another 15,000 rooms. It is possible to provide temporary accommodation on river ferries. We have already made arrangements with some of the riverboat owners. There will be enough rooms for all the expected visitors.
Question: How are you supervising the hotels for foreign guests? Will foreign language skills be required? Will you check them for certification compliance?
Nikolai Gulyayev: We are completing the classification process for Moscow’s hotels and flats that was started for the World Cup. The procedure includes the inspection of hotels, apartment centres and hostels for compliance with certain service criteria. For example, four- and five-star hotels must have travel guides and interpreters and provide tours. Also, the majority of participating hotels are part of international chains. Their staff is required to speak foreign languages and their service is up to international standards.
The total capacity of the Luzhniki Sport Centre’s parking is almost 4,000 cars and over 700 buses. Park-and-ride facilities will be arranged at major inbound transit hubs near the city centre.
Question: What tourist programmes are being developed for football fans from different countries?
Nikolai Gulyayev: We have developed more than 120 travel routes for fans from other countries. Visit Russia branches will be promoting these offers abroad. The Four Capitals package tour covers Moscow, St Petersburg, Kazan and Sochi. In addition to traditional city tours on foot and from water, visitors will be able to tour the largest stadiums in Moscow, including Spartak, Luzhniki and FC Lokomotiv’s Cherkizovo Arena. Other ways to see Moscow include bicycle, Segway and scooter tours.
Let me remind you that last July, we presented the Moscow event calendar for 2017-2018 that includes almost 500 major events such as fairs, festivals, concerts, exhibitions, premieres and sports competitions. The calendar was unveiled well in advance so tourists could make plans for their visit.
A tourist call centre was launched this month. It provides information support in five languages, 24 hours a day. During the Confederations Cup and the World Cup, all visitors will have spectator IDs that allows free admission to one exhibitions at the Museum of Moscow. Other programmes are in development, including metro tours, bus tours and ferry rides, as well as package tours and Moscow+ trips that cover the Moscow Region, the Golden Ring and neighbouring regions.
We are working on a unified travel card that spectators can use for free public transit. Game admission cards will have special chips that will allow free transit on competition routes.
Question: What is the status of the transport strategy? Have you developed spectators routes, integrated game and public transit tickets? Will there be enough parking space?
Nikolai Gulyayev: There is a public transit management plan for the Confederations Cup and the World Cup. It was approved by Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin back in late 2015. The plan will improve the transport infrastructure so that it can handle events with a large flow of tourists.
The areas around stadiums will provide enough parking for FIFA spectator groups and football fans. For example, the total capacity of the parking at Luzhniki Sports Centre is 4,000 cars and over 700 buses. Park-and-ride facilities will be arranged at major inbound transit hubs near the city centre.
We are working on a unified travel card that spectators can use for free public transit. Game admission cards will have special chips that will allow free transit on competition routes. We will present this project next April. Volunteers and accredited personnel will receive contactless Ultralight tickets for free transit.
The fan festival to be held outside the MGU building will be broadcast live around the world.
Question: How will the fan zone for the World Cup look?
Nikolai Gulyayev: We’ve coordinated the venue for the fan fest with FIFA: it will be a 36,000-square-metre site outside the Lomonosov Moscow State University (MGU) building on Vorobyovy Gory.
The site will feature food kiosks, souvenir stalls, World Cup official sponsors’ stands and an official shop. The fan festival that will be held outside the university will be broadcast live around the world during the entire World Cup schedule.
Safety at the FIFA Fan Festival will be ensured in compliance with the general World Cup safety requirements. Currently, the issue is being addressed. We’ve already developed a plan to separating the home and away fans.
Question: How many volunteers are expected to work in Moscow at the Confederations Cup and the World Cup? What languages are they expected to know?
Nikolai Gulyayev: We’ll have 1,850 volunteers from among city residents, or city volunteers, and 1,800 volunteers from the organising committee will be trained for work in Moscow for the duration of the Confederations Cup. A year later, when we host the World Cup, the figures will increase to 5,000 and 5,500, respectively.
Volunteers from the organising committee will be working at the sport facilities and they must speak English. Also, in some cases, knowledge of other languages may be required. Volunteers from the city will be assigned to work at airports, bus terminals, city-wide public events and the fan festival, and also take guests of the city on tourist routes. So far, we’ve registered over 1,900 city residents and are interviewing them.
Question: Are there plans to sell discount match tickets?
Nikolai Gulyayev: It’s FIFA’s responsibility to develop and implement the ticketing programme. Last summer, it announced the prices of match tickets. Normally, residents of the host country are entitled to discount ticket prices, say, Russian nationals will be able to book discount tickets that fall in the special fourth category for Confederations Cup matches; the minimum price is 960 roubles per group match.
In all, at least 100,000 discount tickets for Confederations Cup matches will go on sale; Russia will host the event next year from 17 June through 2 July. Tickets in other categories will cost from US$70 to US$245. At least 350,000 tickets in the fourth category for World Cup matches will be allocated to Russian nationals; the minimum ticket price is 1,280 roubles. The minimum price for tickets in other categories is US$105. Incidentally, tickets for Confederations Cup matches first went on sale on 1 December.
Fans interested in attending Confederations Cup matches will be able to buy tickets for one match or a series of matches that are held in the same city. It also will be possible to buy tickets for a series of World Cup matches with the participation of a particular national team. Tickets for World Cup matches will only go on sale after the Confederations Cup ends. For either event, tickets will only be available on FIFA’s official website.