The trophy was greeted on Manezhnaya Square in Moscow on 3 June.
"Moscow is a sports capital. We have hosted the Olympic Games and dozens of various world tournaments. And now, Moscow has become the world's football capital. We are here today to welcome the FIFA World Cup Trophy just as we would an old friend, after its long journey to dozens, even hundreds of cities, only to return to Moscow again," Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin at the official trophy welcoming ceremony.
Mr Sobyanin noted that along with the wonderful festival of football and world-class stadiums, visitors will also see a very beautiful city. "Our wonderful Moscow is waiting for its guests and is ready to share its museums, theatres, parks, pedestrian streets, and, most importantly, the friendly smiles of Muscovites and their hospitality," he said.
The ceremony was also attended by Michael Vinet, general manager of the 2018 FIFA Project at Coca-Cola Russia, German footballer Lothar Matthaus, and 2018 World Cup Ambassador Lyasan Utyasheva.
Over 250 students of Moscow sports schools were also in attendance. The young athletes had the opportunity to take photos with the legendary trophy and receive autographs from renowned athletes and footballers.
The trophy-welcoming ceremony is the last big event before the 2018 World Cup opening match. On 14 June, the 81,000-capacity Luzhniki Stadium will host the match between Russia and Saudi Arabia.
Between June 4 and 7, the trophy will be displayed in a special tent on Pushkinskaya Embankment at Gorky Park, where everyone will be able to see it and take photos. Visitors will also have the opportunity to take part in an entertaining programme while enjoying the festive atmosphere and waiting in anticipation for the world's largest football event.
Touring across cities and countries
The FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour lasted from September 2017 to June 2018. The event was organised by the Russia 2018 Local Organizing Committee alongside FIFA, as well as Coca-Cola, who are FIFA's official partner and have the exclusive right to organise the World Cup Trophy Tour across the world.
"It is symbolic that the trophy has traveled a record distance to reach Russia, the host of this year’s World Cup. This is the longest and most extensive route the trophy has ever ventured on in the history of the tournament. Just a few days are left before the exciting event starts, and I assure you that all the cities - Moscow and the other host cities - are ready. You can see that our cities are wonderfully decorated and the stadiums are prepared," Director General of Russia 2018 Local Organizing Committee Alexei Sorokin said.
One of the tournament goals is to highlight the importance of the fact that the World Cup is being hosted in Russia for the first time. Organisers made effort to create an atmosphere of anticipation for this grandiose festival, trying to both evoke a larger interest in football and promote an active lifestyle to Russian citizens.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour started on 9 September 2017 at Luzhniki's Big Sports Arena. Russian President Vladimir Putin and FIFA President Gianni Infantino attended the official ceremony.
Since that time, the trophy has made a trip around the globe. It has toured 50 countries and 24 Russian cities, from Kaliningrad and Vladivostok, finally returning to Moscow on 3 June. This has been the legendary trophy's longest tour across a World Cup host country.
Moscow is the World Cup capital
Moscow is the headline city of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The Russian capital will host a total of 12 matches.
The World Cup's main venue, the Big Sports Arena in Luzhniki, will host the opening match, as well as round-of-16 matches, one semifinal and the final matches. Also, it will host several group stage matches.
The city's Spartak Stadium will host four group-stage matches and a round-of-16 match.
The landscaping of the territories adjacent to the stadium has been given a fresh look.
Hotels for fans and footballers
A total of 1,453 city hotels and other places offering accommodations are ready to welcome the tournament’s guests and athletes. They have been classified according to the international star-grading system. The total room capacity available is 73,911 rooms (201,464 beds).
Moscow's suburbs are also ready to meet visitors, offering a capacity of about 8,300 rooms (17,800 beds).
Guests can receive assistance in booking hotels at Moscow's tourist call centre, which can provide up-to-date information on the city transport infrastructure and prompt consultations in emergencies. The centre staff members speak Russian, English, German, French, Chinese, and Spanish.
Nearly 9,000 volunteers are ready to help
Over the course of the World Cup, at least 8,700 volunteers will be involved, including 3,700 volunteers from the Russia 2018 Local Organising Committee and 5,000 city volunteers.
The city volunteer groups will mostly include people who were selected and trained for working at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.
Volunteers will be involved in providing assistance to the World Cup visitors on matters such as transport, the 'Last Mile' spaces and the fan festival, along with giving advise on tourist routes. They will also take part in working with mass media and providing medical assistance during city events. Volunteers will also be available at information and accreditation centres.
Free travel in Moscow
The Moscow Government made the decision to provide free travel on World Cup event routes. However, special documents will be required in order to take advantage of this, such as a match ticket and a Fan ID for football fans. Volunteers and accredited FIFA personnel will need special tickets and documents confirming their accreditation.
Journalists who are accredited by the city press centre and not accredited by FIFA will also be able to travel for free.
An additional eight shuttle routes will be made available in the city during the tournament. These buses will travel between Moscow airports and metro stations, Spartak Stadium and Luzhniki Sports Complex, and between fan festival venues and metro stations.
Between 7 June and 22 July, assistance will be provided in five foreign languages at the Moscow Transport contact centre and Moscow Transport service centres.
Mobile doctor brigades, ambulance and emergency medical care teams will be ready to provide medical aid during the World Cup. Medical centres and stations will be set up at Luzhniki and Spartak Stadium, as well as at the fan festival venue at Vorobyovy Gory.
The city’s healthcare organisations have available the necessary supply level of medications, medical equipment and donated blood and its components, in compliance both with FIFA requirements and regulations set forth by the Russian Healthcare Ministry.
These medical teams have been provided with 27 ambulances, each of which is equipped with all the necessary gear: 15 C-class mobile intensive care ambulances and 12 B-class emergency treatment ambulances.
All doctors have been trained to perform CPR with the use of an automated defibrillator.
Doctors who take part in servicing foreign guests have taken a course in general medical English.
Fan festival at Vorobyovy Gory
During the World Cup, a football fan festival will be rolled out at a site near Moscow State University's main building at Vorobyovy Gory. The site is ready to accept up to 25,000 football fans.
Attendees will be able to watch the World Cup matches broadcasted live on 144 sq m screen. Videos from the fan festival central venue near Moscow State University will be broadcast live globally during the whole period of the World Cup.
The fan festival host venues have a total area of about 60,000 sq m.
Assembly of the infrastructure for the fan festival began on 15 May. The work will be fully competed on 7 June, and on 10 June the venue will host a concert.
World Cup cultural programme: exhibitions, friendly matches and city walks
The World Cup's cultural programme includes 71 events, with 55 of them being organised by the Moscow Government.
The Museum of Moscow will host the exhibition, The House of Football, which will tell visitors the story about how football was played in city courtyards in the middle of the 20th century.
An exhibition dedicated to sports fashion in Russia and the Soviet Union will take place in the Museum of Fashion, while the State Museum of the Defence of Moscow will feature an exhibition called Soviet Athletes During the Great Patriotic War Years.
The Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics, together with the Museum of Cinema, will hold a friendly football match involving cosmonauts, film directors, and cinema and cosmos fans.
The Moscow Agency for Recreation and Tourism (Mosgortur) has developed a chatbot for World Cup visitors and fans. It will assist people in receiving information about the city's main attractions and tourist tours in Moscow. The chatbot is available on the Facebook social network when using a browser.
Spectators who have received a Fan ID can also receive a 50-percent discount on the price of admission to exhibitions organised by city institutions.