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Russia's challenges to host in 2018

  • BBC, Thursday, December 2, 2010 6:50 PM

The BBC's Richard Galpin looks at the hurdles Russia faces before hosting the 2018 World Cup. Russia has drawn up an ambitious plan to transform the soccer facilities in 13 cities in the western part of the country. There are huge distances between potential host cities, many of which are off the beaten track. Saransk, for example, is 400 miles east of Moscow and there's just one flight a day from the capital on an old propeller plane.

"By 2012 we will completely revamp our transport infrastructure," says the mayor of Saransk, Vladimir Sushkov. "We will rebuild the airport, build a chain of hotels, a new bus station and create conditions for hosting a large number of visitors." Most of the stadiums will be built from scratch. There are also plans to upgrade airports, build high-speed rail links and new hotels. The basic price tag is $6 billion.

Another issue is racism. Haminu Draman from Ghana plays for Moscow club Lokomotiv.  "If you play against some clubs that don't have blacks in their team, especially in St. Petersburg, it's crazy," he said. "I think if the other countries like Africa qualify for the World Cup when it's hosted by Russia, I think it's going to be hard for them too, unless these kind of things change here."

Alexei Sorokin, head of the Russian bid committee, said, "We will gradually cope with this problem, we don't see any problem with that."

Read the whole story at BBC »

1 comment about "Russia's challenges to host in 2018".
  1. Carlos Thys, December 3, 2010 at 5:24 a.m.

    As I have pointed out elsewhere, Russia's revamping its infrastructure is the least of its problems. How about improving the day-to-day quality of life of the Russian citizen? How about freedom of the press? How about dismantling the monopoly the state holds on the media? How about doing real and meaningful crime prevention and vigorously attacking your organized crime? How about ending one-party-rule which we define as a dictatorship? Give me tickets tomorrow for a flight to Moscow for two weeks and, sorry, I'm not going. FIFA cannot be bothered with these things but normal fans have to think about them. FIFA execs are too busy making sure their bribes remain hidden and quaking in their boots over Russian (very real) blackmail schemes. Russia can bully, bribe and fraudulently win its way to winning a Sochi 2014 and a Copa Mundial 2018 but that changes nothing. Their leadership and the criminal activities at the highest levels are just a different form of the same evil we knew in the 60's, 70's, and 80's. A football fan (young men, not family men) and his mates might make the trek in 2018 but they won't do so with the ease and carefree, happy gait of fans who attended USA 1994, France 1998, South Korea/Japan 2002, or Germany 2006.

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