The entire city infrastructure is ready to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup, said Head of the Moscow Department of Sport and Tourism Nikolai Gulyayev.
“Since its opening a few years ago, Spartak Stadium has hosted regular Russian Football Premier League plus Russia’s national team matches. It has passed the main tests by conducting four Confederations Cup Moscow stage matches,” pointed out Gulyayev.
Nikolai Gulyayev noted that the renovation of Luzhniki Olympic Complex has given the city a new generation sports arena for holding major international events. The arena has been lauded by representatives from the global football community.
The upgraded Luzhniki Big Sports Arena can accommodate 81,000 people. The stands have been fixed as close to the football pitch as possible. The sloped angle of the seating area has been increased so as to provide a good view of the arena from any point. Other conveniences include additional exits and comfortable seating.
“Our main achievement is having preserved the building’s historic façade, including the authentic appearance of its walls,” stressed Nikolai Gulyayev.
Gulyayev doesn’t think the scores are the primary objective of the World Cup. The main aim he thinks is to create a festive atmosphere, and that’s why there’s a vast cultural programme being prepared.
“Lots of interactive and activity zones are being created for visitors. We have also provided a maximum amount of reference and information material so that people won’t get lost trying to find the football arenas,” noted the department’s head.
He pointed out that Moscow is going to become the main transit hub during the 2018 World Cup. The majority of people heading for other cities to watch matches will first arrive in Moscow. They will be flying to one of the four international airports – Sheremetyevo, Domodedovo, Vnukovo or Zhukovsky. There are nine railway stations, three river ports plus masses of motorways that football fans will also be using.
“On match days, football supporters will be able to take advantage of all kinds of surface and underground transport free of charge,” pointed out Gulyayev. All they have to do is show their match tickets for the day plus FAN ID.
Everyone who has a 2018 World Cup ticket has to obtain this fan identity card. This will ensure that nobody has to pay when travelling between the cities where matches are going to take place. Foreigners with FAN ID are also going to be allowed to enter Russia without any visa during the period of the World Cup.
Those visiting the capital will only be accommodated in hotels that have been vetted. Nearly 75 percent of all the rooms available have already been booked for the period of the World Cup.
“As to date, reservations can be made in 1,183 hotels in the capital which all have various star ratings. Next year, more hotels will be welcoming tourists plus new ones will be put into service. We have been carrying out price monitoring and as of today 33 cases of overpricing have been revealed for the period of the World Cup. The same practice of overcharging was observed during the Confederations Cup when we managed to talk the hotels into lowering their prices. As we can see, many hotels are yielding to the temptation of hiking their prices once again,” added Nikolai Gulyayev.
The 2018 World Cup will take place between 14 June and 15 July 2018 in 11 cities – Moscow, St Petersburg, Kazan, Sochi, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Kaliningrad, Yekaterinburg and Saransk. The main host city will be Moscow which is going to stage 12 matches as well as the opening and closing ceremonies.
The main events will be held at the Luzhniki Big Sports Arena. The opening match will be between Russia and Saudi Arabia. Also, three group stage matches, the round of 16, the semifinals and the finals will be conducted there. Spartak Stadium will also host five World Cup games – four group stage matches as well as the round of 16.