December 21 – Head of the Moscow Department of Sport and Tourism Nikolai Gulyaev said on Tuesday that the whole infrastructure of Moscow is almost ready for World Cup 2018.
Gulyaev said that the Russian capital has built the necessary sports facilities, as well as an efficient transport system and “we expect a large number of fans. Our main task is to create a holiday atmosphere. At the moment, an extensive cultural program is being prepared. Various zones of activity will be created, information centers and maps will be presented in the information centers for fans with information on how to reach sports facilities.”
According to Gulyaev, the main home arena for the tournament will be the Luzhniki stadium which, now 60 years old, has been reconstructed to accommodate 81,000 fans with the stands designed to be as close to the pitch as possible and their angle increased to ensure good views from all parts of the stadium.
Despite the extensive building of new infrastructure, Gulyaev was keen to emphasise that, “our main achievement was that we managed to preserve the historical façade of the building, leaving the walls in their original form.”
A festive atmosphere
According to Gulyaev, the main task in holding the World Cup is not the sporting result but to create a festive atmosphere, so an extensive cultural programme is being prepared for the capital’s guests.
“A large number of interactive zones and activity zones will be created for tourists, as well as a maximum number of reference and information materials to ensure that guests can easily reach the venue of matches.”
Moscow the transport hub
Although most fans will go to matches in other cities, they will still likely first arrive in the capital which is served by four international airports. On match days overland transport between cities will be free for fans in possession of match tickets and a fan’s passport. For foreign citizens the fan’s passport also provides visa-free entry to the country during the period of the tournament.
Classified Hotels already 75% booked
Fan’s will only be placed in hotels which have passed classification, with 1,183 Moscow hotels currently available for booking in all star categories.
Next year, more new hotels will be opened. “We are monitoring prices, to date, we have identified 33 facts of overstating prices by hotels for the period of the World Cup. Similar experience of overstating prices by hotels was at the Confederations Cup, but then in a calm conversation we convinced the hotels to correct the situation, but the temptation to raise prices for many hotels remains,” said Gulyaev.
The Luzhniki Arena will host the World Cup opening and closing ceremonies, three matches of the group stage, one match in the round of 16, a semi-final and the final. Another five games of the tournament will take place in the Moscow Spartak Stadium including four group stage matches one match in the round of 16.
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