By Andrew Warshaw
July 7 – Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko (pictured) insists his country has learned from the bitter experience of hooliganism at Euro 2016 and that the 2018 World Cup will be safe for all supporters to attend.
The Russian federation was threatened with expulsion by UEFA if there was any repetition of the mayhem in Marseille early in the competition. A number of Russian fans were imprisoned and several more deported but thankfully, there was no more trouble helped by the fact that Russia were eliminated at the group stage.
“Of course we will take into account the experience from Euro 2016. There were 28 of our observers there, including members from the security services,” said Mutko. “The Russian government has given all the necessary safety guarantees for the 2018 World Cup. We will do everything so that people from all countries will feel comfortable in Russia.”
“I was in Marseille and saw everything with my own eyes. We are now in negotiations with colleagues from France and will meet to discuss their experience. They are trying to look at the best practices and I believe we can create a secure, comfortable and football loving atmosphere. We will ensure that every team, every fan can feel in safety.”
Mutko was speaking at the announcement of ticket prices for the World Cup, the operation for which will be handled on the FIFA side by joint deputy secretary general Zvonimir Boban and competitions director Colin Smith.
Overall prices have been increased by around 15% compared with Brazil and have broken the $1,000 barrier for the first time. FIFA said the top price for final in Moscow will be $1,100, up from $990.
The cheapest tickets for both the World Cup and the Confederations Cup 12 months earlier will go on sale only to Russian citizens, said Mutko. “FIFA met us half way. Category four tickets, which will be sold only to Russian supporters will be introduced,” Mutko told a news conference. “They are even cheaper than the tickets which were sold at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.”
Unlike the first three categories, tickets for category four will be fixed in roubles. The cheapest tickets on sale for the Confederations Cup will cost 960 roubles ($15), while for the World Cup this figure will be 1280 roubles ($20). At the World Cup the cheapest tickets for foreign fans will cost $105.
FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura said in a statement that “we wanted to make sure that we priced tickets fairly to make the events accessible to as many people as possible.”
Mutko went on to say that Russia’s new national coach, a pivotal appointment given Russia’s World Cup host status and the urgent need for the squad to improve, would be named some time next month. “[Leonid] Slutsky finished his work, we have thanked him and he will now focus on his work in the [CSKA Moscow] football club,” said Mutko, who is also the president of the Russian Football Union (RFU). “We are working on it but I cannot announce the exact date.”
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