Infantino worries about his bet as Moscow prepares to communicate

April 22 – New FIFA president Gianni Infantino joked that his only remaining question over the Russia 2018 World Cup on his recent visit was on his “bet with Minister Mutko if I will speak better Russian or he better English in 2018.” Mutko may not have mastered the English-language but the Russians are increasingly showing they have a grip of World Cup communication.

The focus of Infantino’s visit was on the stadia for the tournament and said that from what he could see “we are on-track here”. But he did issue the caveat that “stadiums all need to be completed by December 2017 to allow proper testing and ensure that all will be done to stage a smooth FIFA World Cup. Everyone in Russia is conscious that there is still a lot to be done, on the construction at the stadia, on accommodation and on infrastructure. We can’t lose any days, but again from all I have experienced, I am convinced it will be a great success.”

Signs are starting to emerge in Russia that World Cup preparation is moving beyond the core infrastructure projects towards preparation for the influx of World Cup fans.

Moscow is leading the way in this respect with plans for screens to allow visitors to find they way around the city more easily being announced – Moscow travel an be time-consuming and confusing for non Russian readers or speakers.

Underground walkways are to be fitted with interactive panel that will help with route planning, weather forecasts and exchange rates. A Moscow city press release said: “We have signed a contract for advertising and social information on the 47 anti-vandal interactive playback devices in 21 underground walkways in Moscow. 41 screens have been already installed.”

Above ground the city is also putting information and navigation sites for visitors – they will also be equipped as Wi-Fi access points. There will be about 40 locations in central Moscow, part of the ‘My Street’ programme introduced this year, with more than 100 being installed on pedestrian streets.

They will feature walking maps with important infrastructure facilities (public transport, bike rental stations, surface and underground crossings, walkways, shopping centres), as well as monuments and other places of interest including theatres and museums. The maps contain information about significant sites, located in a five-minute walking distance.

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