‘Russia to boost efforts to promote 2018 football World Cup’

Moscow, Jan 30 (IANS) Russia will step up efforts to promote the 2018 football World Cup, including providing hospitality packages, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko has said.

The 2018 World Cup kicks off in 500 days on June 14, 2018, reports Tass.

“500 days is plenty of time, but on the other hand, we are already counting these days. A lot more needs to be done: stadiums and football fields, bases for hosting the teams and transport logistics,” said Mutko, who is also the president of the Russian Football Union (RFU), on Monday.

Russia needs to intensify efforts on promoting the project with colleagues from the world’s football governing body FIFA, he said.

“We offer many new hospitality-related products – visa-free entry, free travel between cities and in cities, there will be many possibilities that the other championships did not have. Time is coming when there is the need to attract more fans and citizens of regions,” Mutko said.

“An unprecedented volunteer programme will be launched: there are more than 180,000 applications for 20,000 jobs. In general, everyone is working as a team, there is good understanding between regional and federal authorities and the public. I’m sure that we will cope with this task and hold the championship at the highest level as Russia can do it well,” he added.

Mutko stressed that this is a “major and serious project for the country and its tasks are of great importance”.

“First of all, this concerns the development of cities and infrastructure: we are modernizing airports, hotels and hospitals and will buy many train carriages, tramways and trolley buses.”

The Russian authorities will also make efforts to attract more people to sports. “The best teams of the world will play at the World Cup and certainly, this is a kind of a guideline for boys and girls, who would like to devote themselves to football,” he added.