The city has opened 32 free football attractions for local residents and football fans attending the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Recreational areas have sprung up at the National Exhibition of Economic Achievements (VDNKh), in Victory Park on Poklonnaya Gora (Hill), Bauman Garden and in other parts of the city. People can take turns playing table football, football billiards, Tecball, flat-ball and football darts for free, and teams can compete as well.
“The World Cup is a great holiday for football lovers and ordinary people. We have established interactive open-air recreational areas in five parks in central Moscow. This helps to create a joyful mood and involve city residents and tourists in this sport. Anyone can take part in football freestyle events, score a goal and play other active games,” Head of the City Department of Sport and Tourism Nikolai Gulyayev said.
Tecball is a favourite pastime requiring good football skills. People play this game on a large curved table resembling a ping-pong table. Two players take turns throwing a football over the net using their chests, knees and heads, rather than hands. They cannot touch the table either. Mini-football buffs can try their luck at flat-ball. Two people can play this game at a time. To win, you need to score more goals against the adversary’s miniature goal than the opponent, without leaving the field’s home zone. Athletes kick a tiny football on a pitch three metres wide and six metres long and with high walls.
Football billiards is another goal-scoring game. Unlike the classic billiards played with wooden cues, players can kick the balls towards goals at the edges of the pitch. The Pinpoint Goal attraction involves people trying to shoot a ball inside a small hole in an inflated wall. Some attractions, including classic table football on large and small “pitches,” involve several players. The large “field” accommodates up to eight people at a time, with four people playing the game’s smaller version. Anyone can also play football darts, throwing soft balls instead of darts at a round five-metre inflated target.
According to Mr. Gulyayev, the recreational areas also feature the Insta-Vorota and Photo-Ball photo zones. People can take photos inside a transparent ball and in front of an improvised goal with a panorama of Moscow and World Cup paraphernalia. They can also print out photos in the zones. Moreover, a postal service for football fans has opened at six locations, where people with FAN IDs can send letters to their friends or relatives in any part of the world. All they have to do is place their messages inside a football-shaped post box. Those who don’t have FAN IDs can write a letter to a football player from any national team involved in World Cup matches, and it will be delivered to the addressee. Letters are collected and sent to addressees daily. This postal service also has branches near Kievsky Railway Station, not far from the entrance to the picturesque Bogdan Khmelnitsky Bridge, on Novy Arbat Street, in Krasnaya Presnya Park, in Victory Park on Poklonnaya Gora and in Bauman Garden.
“We are happy to invite football fans and other people to our parks, so that they can experience this wonderful game and its culture in between the World Cup matches. Apart from the games between various national teams at the largest Russian stadiums, this is a chance to become involved in a global event,” the Mosgorpark (Moscow City Park Authority) press service noted.
Location of football attractions:
- VDNKh Park, North-1 entrance. Attractions: football, table football and XXL table football, flat-ball, inflatable table football and football billiards
- Krasnaya Presnya Park at 5 Mantulinskaya Street. Attractions: Tecball, Pinpoint Goal, football darts, table football and flat-ball
- Victory Park on Poklonnaya Gora, near the Victory Museum. Attractions: table football and XXL table football, football darts, Tec-Ball, football billiards, Pinpoint Goal
- Bauman Garden at 15 Staraya Basmannaya Street. Attractions: flat-ball and table football
- Central House of Artists at 10 Krymsky Val Street. Attractions: table football, XXL table football, Tecball, football darts, Pinpoint Goal and football billiards
- 5/9 Nizhny Susalny Pereulok. Attractions: table football, XXL table football, Pinpoint Goal, football darts, flat-ball and Tecball.
In all, 11 Russian cities, including Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, Sochi, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Kaliningrad, Yekaterinburg and Saransk, are hosting World Cup matches from 14 June until 15 July. Moscow is to host most of the games, a total of 12.