Russia’s 2018 World Cup Bid looks strong

Great article in the Guardian today about Russia’s bid to host the 2018 Football World Cup. According to the Guardian, the Russian bid’s organizers are pretty confident of beating England, their main challenger to become the 2018 World Cup hosts.

“…with three months to go until Fifa’s secret ballot, the Russians appear quietly certain that they and not England will emerge victorious. Mutko’s optimism stems from a single powerful idea – that a Russian World Cup would be a more dynamic, more compelling, and more nation-transforming event than a ‘safe’, and possibly dull, English one. It would, in short, be a moment in history.”

I have to say (speaking as an Englishman who would love to be able to watch a live World Cup match just down the road from my house) I agree with Vitaly Mutko. If the World Cup were to be hosted in England it would be well-organized, without a doubt, and the facilities would be excellent. But it would also be a tremendously dull affair. The awarding of a major tournament to a country like England would be nice enough, but no-one in England would be excited about the event, except perhaps the citizens of participating countries who already live in England (mainly in London).

Awarding the event to Russia, on the other hand, would mean a great deal more to people there, and would be much more of a “statement” from FIFA. Regardless of what you think about democracy in Russia, following on from the Sochi Olympics in 2014, a Russian World Cup would demonstrate that Russia is a major country again, a country capable of successfully hosting the world’s most prestigious events. Like the decision to host the World Cup in South Africa in 2010, it would demonstrate to the world that Russia is once again an integral part of the international system, after the chaos of the past few decades, and that Russia is a dynamic country to be watched.

And, I have to say, the Russian bid looks pretty impressive. The Russian Government and Russian Football Federation plan to pump a lot of money into either regenerating existing stadiums or (more frequently) building entirely new stadiums around the country. As the Guardian points out, British stadiums are regularly renewed, and would be regularly renewed regardless of whether or not a World Cup was approaching. Renewal of Russian stadiums, on the other hand, is a “once-in-a-generation investment in infrastructure, which would transform sport across the world’s largest country”.

Although I like the plan to host matches across five different “clusters” of stadiums spread across Western Russia, I am disappointed that all of the host cities are in European Russia. I can see that, from a practical perspective, this is a sensible approach – football is strongest in the West of Russia, and infrastructure is stronger in the West as well. But I can’t help but feel that the bid’s organisers have missed a wonderful opportunity to be host to the first ever World Cup Finals to be held on two continents – Europe and Asia.

It will be interesting to see which way the decision goes in a few months time. The British bid definitely looks slicker, and would probably be a more professional event. But the British bid team have really slipped up by accusing the Russian team of bribery, and accusing Russian fans of being racist (which is a risky allegation to make when you consider how badly behaved British fans are when they travel abroad).

If I were a betting man, I’d probably put a few quid on a Russian victory…

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43 Responses

  1. ‘Russia is once again an integral part of the world system’… you say. Oh really? Then how come it’s so hard to get a visa to visit Russia? Have you seen the latest visa application form for Brits visiting Russia? That doesn’t look like a country that wants to be a part of anything, except on its own terms. Russia is hunkered down behind a wall of visa restrictions, isolated from the rest of Europe, let alone the rest of the world. Give the world cup to Russia when they allow free access across its borders, or when it joins the EU. That’ll be the day.
    And what about Britain? A country that holds free and fair elections and really is an integral part of the world system (noticed how much overseas investment comes to the UK?)
    Oh no. Let’s not hold the world cup in an open democratic country like Britain. Let’s give it to a country where it’s best to keep your mouth shut, best to stay quiet, and best not to get noticed. Very good, Andy.
    Christopher Coin
    author, ‘How to Marry a Russian Bride’

  2. Tim Newman says:

    I have to agree with Christopher on the visa issue, the latest form requires information about where and what you studied at college, your parents’ full names, the name of your previous two emploers with phone number of your boss plus your current employer, and a list of every country you’ve been to over the past 10 years indicating the year. Plus finding a decent hotel for less than about $200 per night is damned near impossible in Russia. No doubt the FIFA bigwigs have been whisked through immigration without a visa and haven’t found themselves trying to get registered in a hotel where the receptionist starts finding problems with the airport stamp in your passport, but I doubt the crowd showing up to watch will get the same treatment.

    I’ll be keeping my eye on Sochi to see how that pans out. Unless there are some major changes made, a world cup in Russia will be one of the hardest and most expensive to attend.

  3. Andy says:

    Getting a Russian visa’s a bit of a nightmare, agreed. The whole system is a stupid waste of time, and should be scrapped. It does nothing for Russia’s international reputation, and very little for Russia’s security (in fact, it probably damages Russia’s security by creating another opportunity for bribery and corruption).

    The Russian Government waived visa requirements for the 2008 European Cup Final which was held in Moscow, though, and I’d be surprised if they don’t do something similar for the World Cup (should they win the right to host the tournament, of course!) and potentially even the Sochi Olympics in 2014.

  4. Tim Newman says:

    The Russian Government waived visa requirements for the 2008 European Cup Final which was held in Moscow…

    Eventually, having been caught completely unawares by the stupidity of their own visa laws and following weeks of dilly-dallying. FIFA should make this a condition of holding the competition.

  5. Countries like the UK make no effort to let Russians visit it easily (a relative who wanted to visit was refused outright several months ago), so Russia in its turn has no obligation to make it easier for foreigners. Now I know Newman believes that being a Anglo-Saxon white person makes him the salt of the earth and deserving of praise and boot-licking from the aborigines, but thankfully the age of Western imperialism is coming to a close.

  6. Wow! Looks like I’ve stirred up a hornets’ nest with my first ever contribution to a Russian blog site. I wondered if anyone would make the point which Sublime Obliviion did indeed make, namely that Russians find it hard to visit Britain, so why should Russia make it easy for Brits coming to their country? The answer of course is that half the world would love to move to Britain, given the chance, and only a strong border control system stops them from doing so. In my book ‘How to Marry a Russian Bride’ I write: (p197)

    ‘And what is England to a Russian? That far-off land where – for they have seen it on TV – the Queen rides from Buckingham Palace to Parliament in a golden carriage. It is the land of the BBC, where the police don’t take bribes, and where they actually have pensions you can live on…’

    I’ve got a feeling Sublime Oblivion isn’t going to like that, but that’s the beauty of democracy I suppose: we’re entitled to disagree.

    Christopher Coin,
    Author, ‘How To Marry A Russian Bride’

  7. Indeed, Britain, the land where the Queen rides in a golden carriage – and has the lowest social mobility in all Europe.

    The land where you have to pay feudal tribute if you want to watch TV to feed the British Brainwashing Corporation, otherwise known as BBC. The land where police ruthlessly breakup protests against imperialism and pollution, while lecturing countries their elites dislike on democracy, and invading sovereign countries (as it has during the British Empire’s long sordid history from Ireland to Iraq). Not to mention the land that is going bankrupt, so even the pensions won’t be there for long!

    BTW, the only Russians wishing to come to Britain are the gold-diggers who are the subject of the book you’re so blatantly peddling to British beta males. To the contrary, increasing numbers of people are fleeing from Britain and as one of them I know I made the right choice.

  8. Indeed, Britain, the land where the Queen rides in a golden carriage – and has the lowest social mobility in all Europe.

    The land where you have to pay feudal tribute if you want to watch TV to feed the British Brainwashing Corporation, otherwise known as BBC. The land where police ruthlessly breakup protests against imperialism and pollution, while lecturing countries their elites dislike on democracy, and invading sovereign countries (as it has during the British Empire’s long sordid history from Ireland to Iraq). The land that is going bankrupt, so even the pensions won’t be there for long!

    BTW, the only Russians wishing to come to Britain are the gold-diggers who are the subject of the book you’re so blatantly peddling to British beta males. To the contrary, increasing numbers of people are fleeing from Britain and as one of them I know I made the right choice.

  9. Tim Newman says:

    Countries like the UK make no effort to let Russians visit it easily (a relative who wanted to visit was refused outright several months ago), so Russia in its turn has no obligation to make it easier for foreigners.

    No, they don’t. But if they want to host international events such as the World Cup, they are obliged to do so. I’d have thought this was obvious.

    Now I know Newman believes that being a Anglo-Saxon white person makes him the salt of the earth and deserving of praise and boot-licking from the aborigines, but thankfully the age of Western imperialism is coming to a close.

    Well, on the other hand, Mr Sublime Oblivion here still thinks it’s okay to keep brown people locked up as slaves in order to make him personally richer.

  10. @Newman,

    Well, on the other hand, Mr Sublime Oblivion here thinks it’s okay to keep white people locked up as slaves in order to make everyone better off.

    Fixed.
    It’s not as if we don’t deserve it after centuries of looting, murder and rapine.

    “Mozart, Pascal, Boolean algebra, Shakespeare, parliamentary government, baroque churches, Newton, the emancipation of women, Kant, Balanchine ballets, et al. don’t redeem what this particular civilization has wrought upon the world. The white race is the cancer of human history.” – Susan Sontag.

  11. Tim Newman says:

    It’s not as if we don’t deserve it after centuries of looting, murder and rapine.

    Mocking the pomp and splendour of the British Queen to invoking the royal “we” within the space of two comments. That’s got to be a first!

  12. No, the reason I say “we” is because I realize that I myself am responsible too, being complicit in the System’s oppression.

  13. Tim Newman says:

    No, the reason I say “we” is because I realize that I myself am responsible too, being complicit in the System’s oppression.

    Speaking for yourself then, in which case “I” would have been a better choice of personal pronoun. For I don’t believe I have ever been involved in looting, murder and rapine, let alone centuries worth.

  14. Did you pay taxes to the imperialist state?
    Did you support the Iraq War?
    Did you serve an exploitative multinational corporation?
    Did you fail to disown and condemn your cultural heritage?
    If the answer is yes to any of those questions, then you are complicit. As is almost everyone, that is, “we”. And in a perfect world we would be forced to pay our mite to natural justice.

  15. Tim Newman says:

    Did you pay taxes to the imperialist state?

    Firstly, taxes are compulsory not optional. Secondly, the British state has not been imperialist since Suez.

    Did you support the Iraq War?

    Yes, but this is begging the question somewhat.

    Did you serve an exploitative multinational corporation?

    I guess this depends on your definition of exploitative. Using mine, no.

    Did you fail to disown and condemn your cultural heritage?

    My cultural heritage being what, exactly? For my being white?

    If the answer is yes to any of those questions, then you are complicit.

    No, I’m not. This is self-righteous leftwing horseshit on stilts. I am no more complicit in rape, murder, and looting than a 33 year old German is responsible for Auschwitz. If you want to believe you are guilty of all those things which others with the same skin colour (and there the similarities end) before you were born, go right ahead and make amends. But don’t expect others to feel the same way, and if you want to be taken seriously then the amends you make ought to be demonstrable, effective, and quantifiable. Merely spouting opinions about what you think everyone else should do were you in charge of anything does not count, I’m afraid. So, lead from the front and tell us what you’re doing now to make the world a better place?

  16. It is not self-righteous in the least because I recognize my sins, and don’t try to pass them off as charitable acts. (For instance, like the apologists for Western imperialist claiming the mantle of freedom, democracy, and human rights promotion).

    I am waging information war against the System by revealing its nefarious workings. That is my contribution, albeit small and humble, though no less sincere for that, to the people’s struggle for true freedom.

    Жить надо не по лжи и бороться за вашу и нашу свободу. Так победим!

  17. Tim Newman says:

    t is not self-righteous in the least because I recognize my sins, and don’t try to pass them off as charitable acts.

    Yes, but rather than keeping it to yourself you eagerly promote it and sneer at all those who don’t share your guilt, as though you are somehow a more morally superior and just human being. And that is self-righteous whichever way you cut it. It’s pretty much the same methodology the devoutly religious use to convince themselves that they, and only they, are going to avoid burning in the fires of hell.

    I am waging information war against the System by revealing its nefarious workings.

    Oh. So to make amends for your part in rape, murder, and pillage you are…telling us what you think is going on. Wow. That ought to make the rape and murder victims feel much better. Personally, if I thought I was complicit in crimes of this nature I’d be doing a whole lot more than that. That you are merely publicising your opinions leads me to believe this guilt you claim you harbour is more of a vehicle by which you can broadcast yourself rather than a sincere regret leading to a desire to genuinely make amends. It’s a soapbox, nothing more.

  18. Yes, but rather than keeping it to myself I eagerly troll about it because I am a supremely morally superior and just pure awesome.

    Fixed.

    Oh. So to make amends for your part in rape, murder, and pillage you are…telling us what you think is going on.

    The pen is more powerful than the sword or the hoe.

  19. Andy says:

    Wow, this is a fun argument to read. Are we experiencing the modern equivalent of Godwin’s law – the longer any internet discussion continues, the greater the chance that one of the participants will be asked about whether or not they supported the Iraq war?

    I feel almost guilty posting an on-topic comment about visas 🙂

    To my mind, a country should have two main objectives in mind when policing its borders against individual people (as opposed to invading armies). It should keep out people who want to visit a country so that they can stay there long term and illegally for economic gain, and it make it as easy as possible for anyone else to visit temporarily, so that they can spend money in the country, either as tourists or as businessmen through investment/trade.

    So, in the case of the UK, which is one of the world’s most affluent countries (according to the IMF it has the 19th highest per capita GDP), there are many people from all over the world who would find it economically advantageous to live illegally in the UK. Or to put it another way – living illegally in the UK is better than living legally in their home country.

    The are relatively few countries who have a high enough standard of living to give the UK government confidence that a high enough proportion of visitors won’t want to stay illegally given the chance. Probably about 50 countries, but that’s a rough guess of mine for illustrative purposes, not based on any real evidence.

    Russia, on the other hand, is not as rich as the UK. It’s still relatively rich (the IMF ranks it 51st in per capita GDP), but there are 50 countries richer than it whose citizens it doesn’t really need to fear will come to Russia to live illegally for economic gain. The chances of Russia being over-run by economic migrants from France are slim.

    There are still plenty of countries whose citizens might jump at the chance to live in a richer country like Russia, but not nearly as many as want to live in a country like the UK. So Russia certainly needs to keep some fairly robust visa procedures in place – as far as I can see, all that Russia’s overly harsh and untargeted approach to visas is doing is damaging the country’s economy.

    Oddly, re-reading this comment, it seems like I’m saying that there’s actually more of an incentive for the UK to have strict visa restrictions than there is for a country like Russia to have strict visa restrictions. But actually, I’m more in favour of visa restrictions that sensibly and selectively target real threats, as opposed to blanket visa restrictions based on pride, paranoia and inertia.

  20. Tim Newman says:

    The pen is more powerful than the sword or the hoe.

    Right. But if somebody is claiming moral authority based on an admission of guilt over rape, looting, and murder one would expect more of that person than merely spouting opinions on the internet. Unless, of course, the guilt is insincere and is merely a useful if not original or terribly convincing soapbox from which to shout opinions. And I think it is fairly obvious which I am are dealing with here.

  21. Hey get this! Nineteen replies to my first-ever post on a blog-site anywhere! Is that a record! And what about Sublime Oblivion and Tim Newman fighting it out! Two ferrets in a sack or what!
    May I say Andy’s comment brought a touch of realism and thought to an area that was getting dangerously overheated (where did the Iraq bit come from?) I really do agree with Andy. He is quite right in his comments.
    I think the real difference between Britain and Russia from a visa point of view is that Britain (and a few other EU countries) has a very generous welfare system. Russia by contrast does not. If you were an economic migrant looking to settle in a new country, Britain’s welfare system would be a huge bonus (pensions you can live on) which Russia simply doesn’t have. So from the point of view of attractiveness to third parties, Britain would need a much tighter visa system than Russia simply to stop a massive inward movement of people. (I suspect that very few people from the West would consider moving to Russia in order to cash in on the Russian benefits system.)
    How you handle that in practice in terms of your visa policies is a moot point, but the bottom line must surely be that a lot more Russians are likely to stay over in Britain that Brits are to stay over in Russia.

    With regard to Sublime Oblivion, may I say I wasn’t peddling my book. I was simply quoting something relevant from it. My book is not for British ‘beta males’. It is for anyone who is interested in Russia, and more especially Moscow. It certainly isn’t anti-Russian. In fact the hero (in his love-struck phase) falls in love with Russia, or at least his interpretation of it, before he comes back down to earth with a bump. My book is an essay about the fascinating differences between Britain and Russia – and Britain does not always come out on top. Thus on p290 I write:

    ‘For as Dave sits at cafes and strolls in parks and soaks up the sun, he asks himself: could Russia in fact be more civilised than Britain?
    Of course Russia is not more democractic than Britian – that much is obvious,and neither is it as wealthy.
    But on the other hand what have British people used their great freedom and wealth for? And Dave thinks of those terrible scenes played out every Friday and Saturday night in Britain’s town and city centres – where young British people use their spare time and money to behave appallingly, turning those town centres into drunken riot zones that no sane person would ever go near…
    And what about those supposedly alcoholic Russians? They have a system of on-street drinking which works wihtout any prolems at all, so that people can have a beer on the street or at a kiosk or on the way home from work, without disturbing anyone. And they’re supposed to be the uncilised ones!’

    I hope this helps

    Christopher Coin
    Author, ‘How To Marry A Russian Bride’

  22. Tim Newman says:

    For as Dave sits at cafes and strolls in parks and soaks up the sun, he asks himself: could Russia in fact be more civilised than Britain?

    Oh, Russia’s miles more civilised than Britain in terms of public behaviour, civic pride, and a million other criteria. On many measures, Britain is positively third world. In fact, it even lags behind a lot of third world countries.

  23. (To Tim Newman re post 11.35am Sept 13 2010)

    I totally agree with you.

    Christopher Coin
    Author, ‘How To Marry A Russian Bride’

  24. Andy says:

    Christopher – thanks for your comments, and I hope you keep commenting on this and other posts!

    Oh, and don’t worry about Tim and Anatoly (Sublime Oblivion) fighting it out – this is pretty tame compared to some of the arguments that have been rolled out in the past… 🙂

  25. Tim Newman says:

    Aye. Where’s Averko when you need him!

  26. The UK’s precipitous descent into authoritarianism. Read it and weep!

  27. Irishman says:

    I find it hard to believe that Russia is even being entertained as a possible World Cup venue, let alone on the bids list. Neither of these things would happen if (a) problem-laden South Africa hadnt had the last one and (b) the Russians hadnt secured Sochi. However it does seem to be a trend to give major sports events to dodgy countries. Whilst I can appreciate the official reasons for this – it helps the country develop and build infrastructure, etc, spread the game, etc – it ignores the fact that Russia is quite a xenophobic place, especially for those who are not the right skin colour. I’m not sure that the massive party element of the last few World Cups will propogate there. Its just not that friendly a place. South Africa was delighted to hold the tournament and went out of their way to make it a friendly happy event. I cant see the Russians doing the same, and considering the total bollocks they made of entry requirements before the CL final in 2008 I’d be suprised if the organisation would be any good.

  28. Irishman says:

    ”And what about Britain? A country that holds free and fair elections and really is an integral part of the world system (noticed how much overseas investment comes to the UK?)
    Oh no. Let’s not hold the world cup in an open democratic country like Britain. Let’s give it to a country where it’s best to keep your mouth shut, best to stay quiet, and best not to get noticed. Very good, Andy.
    Christopher Coin
    author, ‘How to Marry a Russian Bride’”

    I have to agree with this. Giving Russia the WC is external validation for the corrupt, incompetent and authoritarian regime currently running Russia. But with Sepp Blatter involved – himself corrupt, incompetent and authoritarian – it just might happen.

  29. The Irishman is 100% correct, of course.
    Russia has the world’s highest number of anti-Semitic incidents, as could be expected from those racist, xenophobic Untermensch hordes. As can be expected from that sick, neo-Soviet society, it regularly arrests protesters and brands poets as terrorist. Fortunately, however, it’s soon going into the dust-heap of history, what with its 13% of GDP budget deficit, stagnant economy and soaring debts. It beggars belief that anyone would even think of awarding it a major international sporting event – they clearly hate freedom and need a therapeutic spell at Belmarsh to treat their issues.
    Oh wait…. that’s Britain!!

  30. To ‘Irishman’ (Sept 16th 6.45pm)
    Thank you for your kind comments. I agree with you about Sepp Blatter.

    Actually it occured to me after reading your comment, that South Africa offers a disturbing precedent. Although as you say South Africa did indeed go out of its way to put on a great world cup, afterwards the ANC brought in a proposal that any newspaper which ran a story exposing corruption in the ANC government would have to explain itself before a government panel composed of … ANC members!

    What happens if the Russians host the world cup? What would they do to their media afterwards? It hardly bears thinking about!

    Just a thought.

    Christopher Coin
    Author, ‘How To Marry A Russian Bride’

  31. Irishman says:

    ”The Irishman is 100% correct, of course.”

    Are you denying that Russia is xenophobic or simply engaging in whataboutism, a la Averko?
    London is surely the most ethnically mixed city in the world, and whilst I have no doubt there have been tensions there it seems to me the Taffies, Paddies, John Bulls, Pakkies, Jocks, Spicks, Frogs and Krauts all seem to get on just fine. If you are trying to suggest that Russia is more tolerant of foreigners/ethnic minorities than Britain, then you need your head examined.

    Christopher:
    Blatter gets re-elected on the strength of zones like CONCACAF, Africa and Oceania and therefore is always going to try and have tournaments awarded to countries some might view as suspect with a view to getting votes. Giving it to Russia is nuts though – its a truly messed up world when Russia gets the WC ahead of Britain.

  32. To Irishman –
    Well we certainly do live in a messed-up world, that’s for sure.
    I was thinking about Russia getting the world cup over Britain (or it England?) Actually, when you think about it, realpolitik and all that, there’s a hell of a lot of nations which need oil, but how many of them need Britain? Or, to put it another way, annoying which country will do less long term damage to your particular nation, falling out with Britain, or falling out with a regional super-power like Russia?
    Maybe the bear will get its hands on the world cup…
    I’m sure you’ll have a view.

    Christopher Coin
    Author, ‘How To Marry A Russian Bride’

  33. Irishman says:

    Christopher,

    certainly nations do need oil but Russia needs the revenue from it just as badly – they dont have an economy without it, no matter what some people say. I dont honestly know the politics behind this one; I had thought that the USA, who’d staged such a huge success in 1994, were going to bid for 2018. But it looks like its a two horse race and Russia, hard to believe, may actually win. I dont think that most nations lose much sleep over Russia – it is, as you say, a regional power, and once you go west of Poland people stop listening to them. I just dont think they should get the tournament because I am sure it will be poorly attended. Attendances at Russian Premier league matches are poor at best (and I have been to many such games) and I dont think all that many will travel to Russia for the tournament, unless Russia scraps it visa laws for the duration of the tournament and seriously deal with hotel overpricing. Russia is also dog rough on the ground – it is not conducive to a happy, party-type atmosphere that the WC needs for its success these days. Tim Newman mentioned inspectors breezing in an visiting hotels; if one of them even spent 20 minutes walking the environs of Luzhniki or Lokomotiv Stadium out at Cherkizovskaya they’d never award them a CL final, never mind a whole World Cup. I’m not dissing Russia; I’ve spent a long time there but I think its not the right place for the tournament.
    I am sure it will be poorly attended. Attendances at Russian Premier league matches are poor at best (and I have been to many such games) and I dont think all that many will travel

  34. To Irishman
    I think you’ve pretty much summed it up there. Like you say, none of us are dissing Russia, it’s just hard to see how you could run the greatest sporting event in the world in an over-priced authoritatarian state and actually enjoy it. You could run it in Russia of course, but we’re talking about that once-in-every-four years chance for the whole world to relax, lighten up and let its hair down and have a great time – does that sound like Russia to you?
    Christopher Coin
    Author, ‘How To Marry A Russian Bride’

  35. Irishman says:

    ”To Irishman
    I think you’ve pretty much summed it up there. Like you say, none of us are dissing Russia, it’s just hard to see how you could run the greatest sporting event in the world in an over-priced authoritatarian state and actually enjoy it. You could run it in Russia of course, but we’re talking about that once-in-every-four years chance for the whole world to relax, lighten up and let its hair down and have a great time – does that sound like Russia to you?”

    No it doesnt, its not the place for letting your hair down and having a happy multicultural party. Debauchery, yes, happy party, no.
    Another issue as well is the cops. The Militsia are the very last people on earth one would contact if you had a problem, never mind their attempts to shake down obvious foreigners. They’d be a real problem for the fans.
    But the biggest reason for me is their attitude to foreigners and foreign tourism in general. Immediately after the Iron Curtain fell the Czechs, Hungarians and the Croats eagerly went about getting foreign tourists into their respective countries and were immensely successful in doing so. They scrapped any visa nonsense irrespective of the fact that their own people needed visas to visit other countries. They were smart enough to realise they had a product (Prague, Budapest and the Sunny Adriatic) that they could sell and sell it they did. What did Russia do, inspite of a crumbling economy and balance sheet? Well, nothing. Actually as time went by they made it harder for foreigners to visit, and, unlike the Chinese for example, they dont just hit you for money for the priglasheniye and the visa, they also make getting these documents a pain in the arse (the Chinese simply ask how long you intend to stay and make you pay a small visa fee). So inspite of having two of the most culturally important cities in Europe they decided they didnt want the tourist buck (which is immense – ask the Americans). For me this official attitude is reason enough not to give them the WC.

  36. Only rich Western countries and their friends should have international sports tournaments, because they are the most civilized countries. Those who disagree need to be given tough love lessons in our British values of peace and freedom.

  37. Andy says:

    OK, so I see a lot of comments explaining why Russia would be rubbish at hosting a World Cup. Which is fine – I agree with a lot of the comments, and do think Russia would find it difficult to emulate the joyous spirit of World Cups held recently in countries like South Africa, Japan and South Korea.

    But here’s a question for you all…

    What does Russia need to do to make a World Cup held in Russia a success?

    Give me specifics. And don’t just tell me that they need to lighten up on their visa regime – I think we’ve already established that…

  38. Tim Newman says:

    Only rich Western countries and their friends should have international sports tournaments, because they are the most civilized countries.

    Hence the barrage of complaints levelled at the Japan/Korea world cup in 2002 and the Ukraine/Poland European Championship in 2012.

  39. Tim Newman says:

    What does Russia need to do to make a World Cup held in Russia a success?

    Where to begin?

    Firstly, get rid of the pointless requirement for visitors to register themselves with the local authorities within 3 days of arrival in any place.

    Secondly, they need more and better hotels. Unfortunately, to achieve this they need to remove the barriers to entry for a new developer or businessman in any given town (most developers just so happen to be mates or relatives of the mayor or other bureaucrat whose approval is required), and they need to vastly simplify the process for building projects. The chances of either of these happening are almost nil because of the greed and corruption which keeps this bureaucractic nightmare in place. Another result of this is that the hotels, once finally completed years behind schedule, are stupidly expensive.

    Thirdly, once the hotels are sorted out you’d then need to provide all the supporting services to the visitors: restaurants, travel services, medical facilities, etc. These are far below standard at the moment and bringing them up to standard would require overcoming the same bureaucracy, greed, and corruption that prevents Russia having decent hotels at reasonable prices. They have some good things – such as the rail services, and I reckon they’d nail security quite well – but the provincial airports in Russia are awful, the restaurants are either overpriced, rubbish, or both and the hospitals and clinics somewhere you go out of morbid curiosity rather than to get better. And I don’t even want to think about the taxi services which would be on offer in a town hosting a world cup.

  40. Irishman says:

    (1) Establish a properly paid tourist-only police force in each host city for the duration of the tournament with powers over local cops. This would immediately eliminate the major issues with corrupt, unhelpful and downright dangerous militsia who wont change attitude for the visitors

    (2) A major revamp of Pulkovo and basically every provincial airport

    (3) Clean up the cities. They are manky with the dirt.

    (4) Temporarily remove Pugachaeva, Kirkorov and basically all of ORT for the duration of the competition

    (5) All of Tim Newman’s points
    and

    (6) Removal of all red tape of ANY description for fans. People, especially those spending their tourist buck, should have to tolerate no more than filling in an arrival card prior to landing in Russia.

  41. What does Russia need to do to make a World Cup held in Russia a success?

    Give it to a civilized Western country. The only thing that blighted land is good enough for is a vodka drinking world cup. But since Rashka is ruled by a proud neo-Soviet KGB spy that ain’t gonna happen. These are the facts as they are, pro-Kremlin reptile henchmen like Irishman and Newman to the contrary.

  1. September 25, 2010

    […] couple of weeks ago I reported that the Russia 2018 World Cup bid looked pretty strong, and that they had a pretty good chance of beating England in the race to be […]