''Squads aren’t worse than that of a volleyball world championship final''

In a month, Kazan is to host the Champions League Final Four in which Vladimir Alekno’s Zenit will must to defend the title

The Volleyball Champions League didn't come to Kazan all of a sudden – it was said about such a possibility behind the scenes as early as 5 years ago. Now when a month left to the biggest sports event, officials of Zenit and the Ministry of Sport of Tatarstan told at a press conference what awaited the spectators on the two-day volleyball weekend. Who initiated the Final Four in Kazan, what benefits permanent Zenit fans will have and how to make Basket Hall home, in Vladimir Alekno's opinion. Realnoe Vremya tells about this and other interesting details of the press conference.

Is it good or bad to be back to ''native'' Basket Hall?

A big European volleyball final in Kazan has been about to happen for many years already. Local Zenit has seriously and lastingly ''privatised'' the top place of the Champions League and hasn't allowed anybody to get it in the last years. According to Minister on Youth Affairs and Sport of Tatarstan Vladimir Leonov, the decision of the European Volleyball Federation can be estimated as a tribute to Kazan.

''When we had a meeting, the circle of invited people, including those from the European federation, was big. And they said they needed to pay tribute to Tatarstan that had a big experience in holding big competitions. In addition, Zenit-Kazan is the most decorated club in Tatarstan, it's a world grandee.''

Vladimir Alekno: ''If we gather spectators who make any hall their own by joint efforts with you, everything will be fine. We're just back from Kemerovo, and you just don't imagine how the hall changes a team there''

Even if Zenit-Kazan (former Dynamo-Tattransgaz) won its first titles right on the main basketball stage of the city, today it's needless to say the team's back ''home''. Nobody of those players who played in Basket Hall left at Zenit. This is why there was made a logical question: is the move from the habitual Volleyball Centre good for the Kazan team? In answer to it, Zenit head coach Vladimir Alekno noticed the role of fans and the media and gave examples of other cities.

''The last time we played there (Editor's Note: Basket Hall) was a long time ago. But if we gather spectators who make any hall their own by joint efforts with you, everything will be fine. We're just back from Kemerovo, and you just don't imagine how the hall changes a team there. I even envy the way people can support there. And Petersburg, if it fills Sibur Arena, gets unreal support,'' said Mr Alekno.

''The final will be in Basket Hall, which, historically, was the club's court before 2011,'' Vladimir Leonov explained in turn. ''It's linked with the international regulation. In total, we will be able to host about 7,000 spectators during two days. We expect a big flow of spectators. Unfortunately, Basket Hall's parking isn't so big, but logistics and transport are good there, metro is very close. One can minimise the use of personal cars.''

The minister also said together with the city administration they planned to stage a gastronomic festival in the Millennium Park, so that people would be able to have a rest and snack. ''We're negotiating on TV transmission. We plan the final will be shown on leading television platforms of the country,'' Leonov concluded.

Vladimir Leonov: ''In total, we will be able to host about 7,000 spectators during two days. We expect a big flow of spectators''

''This final's squads will be comparable to a world volleyball championship final''

The ''delivery'' of the decisive volleyball two days to Kazan was a matter of time. As VC Zenit director Oleg Bryzgalov said at the press conference, the media representatives who relentlessly repeated ''when will Kazan decide to make such a step?'' offered such an idea to the officials.

''To start with, it was a challenge for us,'' the head of the Kazan club took the floor at the press conference. ''We always looked at the organisation in such finals. It was uneasy to decide, of course. And the work we do confirmed our suspicions that it won't be easy,'' claimed Bryzgalov.

He also said that the second stage of ticket sales kicked off at 11 am on 9 April. ''We have already been said the second stage is very successful. It's very pleasant we have support from everywhere. It will be a very tense and unpredictable final series. From a perspective of squads, it's probably comparable with a world championship final. We will have an inspection visit from Europe on 14 April. On this day, we will see both Basket Hall and the KHL final, of course,'' said Zenit-Kazan's director.

Bryzgalov presupposed up to 80% of tickets to be purchased by evening

Are tickets sold like hot cakes?

As the club assures, the tickets to the upcoming Champions League final are in a great demand. Bryzgalov presupposed up to 80% of tickets to be purchased by evening. He also told about the geographical footprint of the fans who bought tickets and noticed there were preferences for local spectators and a keen interest of the audience from Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Omsk and Zelenodolsk in the tournament. After that, the club director switched to the quality of TV transmission.

''There was a task to provide transmission at the level of world standards if not to surprise in terms of the number of cameras, people who can do it. This is why those who won't have the tickets will also be able to watch volleyball at a decent level,'' promised Bryzgalov.

Also, according to the club director's words, the inspectors of the European Volleyball Federation didn't have a big desire to visit Kazan. ''They said we were a world grandee, everything would be fine, what news they would say to us. But we insisted. We always want to learn new things,'' he told. Bryzgalov also said owners of season cards would go to these matches for free.

''We studied the problem of tickets, especially their price. In Europe, the price is €50-100 on match day. Naturally, we couldn't afford it, our prices are more than low – from 200 to 1,200 rubles. In other words, 5-10 times lower than in Europe. And the quota for foreign fans is 10%. It lasts until 14 April. And we also wait for applications from the clubs.''

By Erik Dobroluybov. Photo: mdms.tatarstan.ru
Tatarstan

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