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No Visa Required for 2018 World Cup Fans


Football fans will have special personified spectator cards, or so-called “fan passports” designed for them. The bill has been approved by the State Duma in the third final reading. But the devil is in the detail. Just showing the card will not suffice at custom control. The incomer will need to provide the identification document accepted in Russia, as well as a ticket or a document enabling its purchase. Getting a visa would have been probably easier, but fan passports help to control the supporters and thus, improve the safety of the event, which is especially important today. Sportsmen and civil servants will need visas, but they will be issued under a simplified procedure.

2018 FIFA World Cup will take place in Russia from 14 June to 15 July 2018.

Test Run of New Hotels Planned End 2017 in Kaliningrad

Domina Hotel

Kaliningrad – September, 20. INTERFAX NORTHWEST – The construction of hotels of Kaliningrad Oblast (region) for the FIFA World Cup 2018 is expected to have been completed by the end of 2017, the governor’s press office reported.

“From an accommodation perspective, considering the operating hotels and construction projects, we fully meet the requirements of FIFA. We have a challenge to complete the construction of the hotels in time as well as provide adequate accommodation to our guests.  We will be aiming resolve all any issues promptly and hold meetings with our investors on a regular basis”,  the press office quotes interim Deputy Prime Minister of Kaliningrad Oblast Alexander Rolbinov as saying.

At present, five new hotels are being built in Kaliningrad and Gvardeysky District.

At the meeting, the investors reported on progress against the construction schedule. According to them, completion of the main works and the test run is scheduled for December, 2017. However, there’s an issue of connecting new facilities to the utilities and electricity in a timely manner.  Alexander Rolbinov delegated the task of coordinating interaction between utilty and electricity distribution companies and investors to the Department of Infrastructure and Municipal Development  of Kaliningrad.

For the FIFA World Cup 2018, the multipurpose Lastadiye hotel (4 stars), Kristall House apartment hotel (5 stars), Domina hotel (4 stars), Mercure hotel (4 stars, run by Accor Hotels), Langendorf hotel (4 stars) will be constructed in Kaliningrad Oblast.

During matches of the Group Stage, the hotels of the region are required to have 6,139 rooms available to house all participants and guests of the championship. At present, the total pool of rooms in Kaliningrad Oblast is 8,477.

The city of Kaliningrad has reportedly been selected among 11 Russian cities to host 2018 World Cup matches. The main stadium will be constructed on the Oktyabrsky island in the city’s downtown area and will accommodate 35,000 spectators.

Worn Down Roads Under Repair and New Roadway Under Construction for 2018 FIFA World Cup in Volgograd


“The construction of the Zero Longitudinal Roadway (3.6 km) is one of the key transport facilities for the World Cup. This roadway is crucial to ensure safe arrival of athletes, guests and fans at Arena Volgograd, the stadium of up to 45,000 capacity. The total contract value is 1.7 billion rubles, funded by the federal and regional budgets, with the deadline for completion set for December, 2017 “, said the representative of the Organizing Committee responsible for preparing and staging the FIFA World Cup in Volgograd.

The First, Second and, partly, Third Longitudinal roadways link the northern and southern parts of the city. The new city roadway will be closest to the Volga river, therefore called Zero Longitudinal.

However, the reconstruction of the Aviators Roadway is currently the most high-end project worth of 2.4 billion rubles, funded by the federal budget. The Aviators Roadway connects the airport to Volgograd’s downtown area and is 12 km long. Works on the reconstruction site are already underway, with the completion date set for December, 2017.

Reconstruction Works Day and Night

The regional program of preparation for the 2018 World Cup includes the reconstruction of ten major Volgograd roads listed in client groups’ protocol routes, estimated at almost 1.5 billion rubles. As explained by the City Council, the most worn down roads are under repair in almost all eight districts of Volgograd. “Reconstruction works are being carried out day and night, including weekends,” said the City Council representative.

The City Council representative also assured that 40 roadways will have been reconstructed before the end of the year. The Regional Transport and Road Management Committee noted that the new integrated traffic scheme of Volgograd is being developed that involves the setup of a unified urban traffic management center. Also, the plan is to clear the right traffic lane on the main roads for public transport as well as create new convenient parking lots for private cars.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev drove through the city thoroughfares on May, 31 during his working visit to Volgograd and considered them as worn down. According to Medvedev, the current state of the roads is the piled-up result of insufficient funding for several previous decades. Governor of Volgograd Region Andrey Bocharov then expressed his hope that the region should obtain full funding for the road sector in the near future.

On September, 9, at the opening of a new section of the federal Moscow – Volgograd highway near Mikhailovka, Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov said that “the Volgograd region obtained 15 billion rubles for the road sector, 9.5 billion of which are federal; in certain areas that’s  2-2.5 times more than in the past years. ”

Volgograd Air Harbor

In the run-up to the 2018 World Cup, large-scale reconstruction is being carried out in the Volgograd International Airport – Air harbor of the city on the Volga river. The airport expansion project is being implemented through a public-private partnership. For instance, 3.7 billion rubles have been allocated from the federal budget – these funds have already been spent to build a new runway. The length of the new runway was increased from 2.5 to 2.8 km, its width – from 45 to 49 m. The second stage of the reconstruction of the runway involves installation of cutting-edge navigation equipment. Upon completion of the project, the Volgograd airport will be able to accept almost any aircraft in adverse weather conditions.

The investment funds – about 1 billion rubles –  were invested into the construction of a three-storied building of a new international airport terminal, which has already been launched this year. “By 2018, a temporary terminal is expected to be constructed funded by PJSC” Volgograd International Airport”. Together with the new terminal, this will ensure passenger traffic of at least 1,450 people per hour, as required by FIFA “, said the representative of the Organizing Committee responsible for preparing and staging the FIFA World Cup in Volgograd.

Also, regional authorities in cooperation with Russian Railways are developing a project to launch aeroexpress trains between the Volgograd downtown area and the airport, on the lines of Moscow airports. Furthermore, there is a project of a new bus station in Volgograd to be constructed in one of the airport terminals. With this done, the Volgograd airport can grow into a modern multi-modal transport interchange hub, which will combine three types of transport (air, railway and cars).

World Cup matches will be held from June, 14 to July, 15, 2018 at 12 stadiums in 11 cities of Russia: Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Yekaterinburg, Samara, Sochi and Rostov-on-Don. Volgograd will host four matches of the group stage of the tournament.

Nizhny Novgorod Starts Сonstruction of Training Ground for 2018 World Cup


Nizhny Novgorod, September, 12 – RIA Novosti. The construction of the pre-match training ground began in Nizhny Novgorod in the runup to the 2018 World Cup, reported the press office of Governor and the Government of Nizhny Novgorod Oblast on Monday.

All in all, three training bases are planned to be constructed for the 2018 World Cup in Nizhny Novgorod – two facilities to build from scratch (near Meshchersky Sports and Recreation Center and Meschera sports school) and Lokomotiv Stadium to renovate. The sports facilities will be available to the participating teams for training before the World Cup matches.

The training ground project near Meshchersky Sports and Recreation Center (on Karl Marx Street) involves the construction of an office building with changing rooms and a press room for 100 people, the construction of a football field, in accordance with all FIFA requirements, as well as fixed stands with a capacity of 500 spectators.

The press office revealed that with ground leveling completed and the training site fenced, work is well underway with the focus being on the building construction pit and football pitch drainage installation.

In follow up of the meeting at the construction site, CEO of the autonomous non-profit organization Planning and Monitoring Center, Sergei Ambarnov noted that “Nizhny Novgorod is taking a responsible approach to preparations for the tournament, all the major works are being carried out in accordance with the approved schedule.”

According to Deputy Governor of Nizhny Novgorod Oblast Dmitry Svatkovsky, after the tournament, the training bases will be used for training by sports schools as well as the local football club. He also noted that new training pitches are a big step forwards in the development of football in Nizhny Novgorod.

The first ever World Cup in Russia will be held from June, 14 to July, 15, 2018. Tournament matches will be played in Moscow, Kaliningrad, St. Petersburg, Volgograd, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, Saransk, Rostov-on-Don, Sochi and Yekaterinburg.

First Russian Tourist Information Center for 2018 World Cup Opens in St. Petersburg

INTERFAX / Andrey Tschetinin

As Head of St. Petersburg Committee for Tourism Development Andrei Mushkarev reported at a press conference on Monday, the new tourist information center was opened on Millionnaya Street, which should  be very convenient for a large number of tourists.

“Petersburg is putting every effort to promote the World Cup in the country. We are very pleased to be pioneers of such a service. This is the first center in the country aimed at promoting the World Cup.  The major task of the center is updating visitors on progress in the preparation for the World Cup, providing information about accommodation and transportation options. This information will cover not only St. Petersburg; however, we want St. Petersburg to turn into a kind of “gateway” to the championship for tourists, ” said Andrei Mushkarev.

According to President of the Russia Unites Fan Club Eduard Latypov, the new office will provide information support for football fans as well. Here, fans will be able to find out about special events arranged for them during  the 2018 World Cup.

Head of St. Petersburg City Tourist Information Bureau, Yevgeny Pankevich pointed out that the new office on Millionnaya Street will also carry out the accreditation of guide interpreters and tour guides. He added that St. Petersburg is planning to launch another seven tourist information points located in train stations and in the port next year. For now, there are 12 of such points in St. Petersburg (including the new office with the focus on the 2018 World Cup).

The new office of St. Petersburg City Tourist Information Bureau will run from Monday through Friday from 10:00 to 19:00 on Millionnaya Street, 25.

In June 2016, the information points and offices  of St. Petersburg City Tourist Information Bureau handled 30 thousand visitors. Thus, on average, over a thousand of tourists a day get support from the staff of City Tourist Information Bureau of St. Petersburg. The most  popular information points last month were those located on Dvortsovaya (Palace) Square and near St. Isaac’s Cathedral, as well as the tourist information desk in the Pulkovo airport.


St Petersburg to Introduce Tourist Police for 2018 World Cup

Photo: TASS / Vladimir Gerdo

St. Petersburg authorities are planning to create tourist police – a special detachment to ensure the safety of visitors in the Northern capital. The new format of tourist’s safety precautions can be launched as early as  2017, by the beginning of the Confederation Cup, the Committee for Tourism Development of St Petersburg told TASS journalists.

“We are planning to do a special program for the World Cup. It involves creation of the tourist police to patrol tourist areas,”  said Head of Committee Andrei Mushkarev.

“The project is still under development, “ he said. “We discussed it at a business meeting with the law enforcement senior officials and have now sent a letter with the above proposal to the Chief of Ministry of Internal Affairs of St. Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast. Further progress depends on resources of Ministry of Internal Affairs.”

Mushkarev went on to add that they considered the experience of Moscow, while creating a project outline, where such a detachment employs about 160 people. “We believe that having the same number of police officers in St. Petersburg makes sense,” he said.

The city, he noted, is ready to assist the police in training for new duties – primarily in learning  foreign languages, as well as ensure the assistance of the municipal tourist information offices. “Tourists were facing many communication issues during the World Hockey Championship, “ said Mushkarev. “This problem should be resolved before the World Cup starts. ”

The introduction of tourist police should build up confidence about safety and comfort of city visitors to the city, the St Petersburg authorities think. “The number of tourists visiting our city exceeds the number of inhabitants, so this demands attention,” said Head of the Committee. In the 2016 season, according to Mushkarev, the city will be able to improve last year’s record – 6,5 million Russian and foreign tourists. “However,  the influx of tourists cannot grow endlessly, therefore of great importance are structural changes, new groups of visitors, like tourists from  Iran, whose number has doubled this year,” said Mushkarev.  “Our mission now is the extension of the season so that the city can welcome tourists all year round.”


Three Tour Itineraries for 2018 World Cup Fans in Tatarstan


The State Committee on Tourism of the Republic of Tatarstan announced to have created tour itineraries for 2018 World Cup fans. According to the press office of the committee, the new tours are “Kazan for real men,” “Extreme Tour” and “Autodrive”. Tour operators will be invited to add them on their offer list.

The itinerary “Kazan for real men” includes a visit to the International Equestrian Sports Complex “Kazan”. In there, guests can visit the stables, the Museum of Horse Breeding, as well as go for a ride. The second hotspot of the tour is Kazan Arena where tourists get to see VIP grandstands, changing rooms and can also walk out onto the football pitch. The final highlight of the trip is the shop museum Arysh May that features the entire product range of the alcohol company Tatspirtprom. The tour includes beverage tasting. Total tour time is estimated at 4 hours.

The itinerary “Adventure Tour” is scheduled for 2 days. On the first day, trippers visit the Sviyaga Shooting Range, 30 km away from Kazan, and the island town of Sviyazhsk. Guests will be invited to watch the show “Amusements of Streltsy” (medieval Russian warriors) with reconstruction battles. The second day of the tour starts on the racing track Kazan Ring. Guests can watch test drives and also get a chance to drive race cars with an instructor. Visitors round off their tour swimming and diving at the Blue Lakes, followed by dinner in the Dubai hotel.

The third itinerary “Autodrive” is a two-day visit to the republic car objects: the Kamaz plant in Naberezhnye Chelny and  the racing track Kazan Ring.

Ramil Miftakhov, President of the Association of Travel Agencies of Tatarstan, estimated the cost of the first route – “Kazan for real men” – at 1,300 rubles. The cost of the two-hour tour of Kazan, he said, will be 600-700 rubles. Longer themed itineraries will be more expensive.

In experts’ opinion, “Extreme Tour” will cost as much as 3,000 rubles, and, with dinner included, 4,000 rubles. The most expensive tour, according to Miftakhov, will be “Autodrive”, assuming that the cost of this tour will start from 4,000 rubles. Yet, he is sure that all the three routes will be popular.

“People will come to Kazan for 4-5 days, they will need something to entertain themselves,” said Miftakhov.

The 2018 World Cup will be held from June 14 to July 15, 2018. Kazan will play host to group stage matches on June 16, 20, 24, and 27, 2018. Kazan will host an eighth-final play-off match on June 30, 2018 and a quarter-final on July, 6. All the six matches will be broadcast live available to watch in the fan zone near Family Center Kazan.

FIFA Approved 36 Training Grounds for 2018 World Cup, Three of Them in Saransk

Photo: Delovoy Saransk

Training grounds must meet a number of requirements. In particular, they should be laid with high quality natural turf, in accordance with international standards, the sites must be supplied with a press room with a minimum capacity of 100 seats, changing rooms and stands for at least 500 people that can be used by the media and spectators during open workouts. It hasn’t been decided yet which training grounds will serve as the main bases, and which one will be the reserve training ground.

All 36 pre-match training grounds have been included in the infrastructure preparation program for the 2018 World Cup. Ten of them are being constructed from scratch. The other 26 training sites will be renovated. The training grounds should be put into service before May 1, 2018.

In Saransk, pre-match training grounds will be located at the stadium of the football club Mordovia, stadium Start and the former Olympic Training Center.

“Training grounds available to the World Cup participating teams for pre-match training will meet top quality standards,” said General Director of the Organizing Committee Russia-2018 Alexei Sorokin. “After the World Cup is over, these football pitches of the highest international standards will be used by football clubs, youth sports schools and ordinary football fans. ”