This is probably one of the most exciting moments in the preparation of the 2018 FIFA World Cup: three candidates, a huge number of voices and finally, the winner – the official mascot of the 2018 FIFA! Meet Zabivaka, or the one who scores a goal (the “kicker,” so to say)! He is quick, dexterous and skillful. Tenacious and determined, his character is reflected in the name. He has been training a lot, sharpening his skills, and is worth being called a mascot.
On the 21st of October 2016, the mascot of 2018 FIFA was officially declared at the “Evening Urgant” talk show on Channel One: the Wolf has beaten the Cat and the Tiger. The new mascot was introduced by the Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Vitaliy Mutko who also mentioned the mascot’s name – Zabivaka.
The competition started in April 2015. At first, the fans cast the votes on a public website to select the best ten from a great variety of candidates. Then a number of students of art got involved to visualize one of the ten characters of their choice.
Three winners were announced in February 2016. Ekaterina Bocharova, the student of graphic design at Tomsk State University, created the Wolf. The Cat and the Tiger were drawn by Sophia Podlesnych from the Novgorod University of Yaroslav Mudryi and by Valeria Taburenko from the Saint Petersburg University of Industrial Technologies and Design respectively.
Voting for the mascot took place from the 23th of September to the 20th of October on the official FIFA page and in its social network accounts. On the 21st October, the final votes could still be cast on the official website of Channel One.
It is worth mentioning that the first FIFA mascot was the lion Willie from the year of 1966, kicking a ball and wearing a British flag T-shirt. The mascot of the 2014 World Championship in Brazil was the armadillo Fuleco whose name is comprised of two words: Fu meaning “futebol” and leco meaning “ecologia.”