''We recommend increasing quotas for local spectators, but the ball is in FIFA’s court''

Online interview of Minister of Youth Affairs and Sport of the Republic of Tatarstan Vladimir Leonov

''We recommend increasing quotas for local spectators, but the ball is in FIFA’s court'' Photo: Oleg Tikhonov

Kazan has the least number complaints about preparation for the 2018 World Football Cup. FIBA inspectors who are considering the city as place for the world basketball cup also like the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan. During the online conference of Realnoe Vremya, Minister of Youth Affairs and Sport of the Republic of Tatarstan Vladimir Leonov told about the difficult last ditch, 2018 WC, development of skiing and busy sports schedule of Kazan for 2018.

6 months to 2018 WC

Vladimir Leonov came to the online conference right after a meeting with Vice Prime Minister of Russia Vitaly Mutko.

''Kazan has almost no questions or complaints. We keep to the schedule. There are fewer questions for the cities that hosted the Confederations Cup than to the others,'' Leonov noted.

According to him, Kazan needs to finish preparing training pitches (Central, Rubin, Electron stadiums; Dynamo will be used as reserve training base). There also will be pitches near bases where teams will be accommodated: in Volga camp, Sviyaga Hills, Ak Bars base near Trudovye Reservy and Rubin's pitch.

Now it is unknown which national teams will stay in Kazan. Representatives of 15 national teams have already visited the capital of Tatarstan – they acquainted with the infrastructure and bases. The teams will make a final decision after the final 2018 WC draw in December.

Kazan has almost no questions or complaints. We keep to the schedule. There are fewer questions for the cities that hosted the Confederations Cup than to the others

''Perhaps, the teams who did not plan to live in Kazan will come and live here. Representatives of national teams of Serbia, Japan, Iran have recently come. Nobody has signed agreements yet. But we'll see,'' the minister added.

Kazan Arena will also be prepared for the championship.

''We won't change the grass!'' Vladimir Leonov claimed.

However, he added that temporary facilities were going to be reconstructed: the place for volunteers and stewards as well as the media centre will become bigger.

The minister also explained the necessity of the last ditch that citizens of Kazan did not like during the Confederations Cup. By the way, the ditch stopped being a ditch by the beginning of the very tournament:

''We started with two kilometres and ended with eighty metres, so that it will be comfortable for citizens. There always were questions, but we tried to solve or minimise them. Today we're having negotiations with FIFA to use this experience of the Confederations Cup in the World Cup too,'' the functionary explained.

Leonov added that they were going to solve the problem with transportation of pensioners and people with limited mobility within the last ditch by the championship. Shuttles and e-cars are considered as options. However, this decision will need to be agreed with law enforcement structures and FIFA.

As for tickets, everything is strict in this sphere, Leonov noted. FIFA has clear working frames and small quotas for a country. Physically, tickets are not sold yet – fans can just submit applications. But even today there are more applications than tickets

FIFA Park and fans' ticket ache

A fan zone of the world cup will appear near Kazan Family Centre during the 2018 WC matches. Admission to its territory will be free. Big screens that will show games of the tournament will be put there. The park will work throughout the championship.

As for tickets, everything is strict in this sphere, Leonov noted. FIFA has a clear working framework and small quotas for a country. Physically, tickets are not sold yet – fans can just submit applications. But even today there are more applications than tickets.

''Of course, we recommend increasing quotas for local spectators, but the ball is in FIFA's court,'' Leonov noted.

Tatarstan is preparing to build a skiing and biathlon complex

Readers asked the minister whether the republic was going to increase the number of skiing pistes. According to Vladimir Leonov, the construction programme of universal sports facilities in Tatarstan had been seriously changed and part of the money would be sent for construction of a skiing lodge.

The idea of construction of a skiing and biathlon complex has not been forgotten as well – it's been decided to erect it at Lokomotiv stadium. The ministry is going to calculate the costs on the project and look for investment options till the end of the year. The presentation of the complex is scheduled late this year, and the very construction is to start in 2018. What is more, a skiing and rolling piste will be equipped at same Lokomotiv.

Blitz: shorts answers to important questions

  1. It is early to speak about the participation of Tatarstan athletes at the Olympics: the very participation of the national team of Russia in it is still under question. The final list of potential participants is to be made by the end of the year.
  2. The park near Kazan Arena is a project of the stadium administration. Its construction will already begin after the football world cup because it certainly won't be possible to do all job in spring.
  3. Tatarstan is becoming an aquatic capital of Russia. The city hosts more and more water tournaments.
  4. Up to 15% of tourists arrive in Tatarstan for sports competitions.
  5. Kazan is a candidate for hosting the Basketball World Cup (the world cup is called so now). The FIBA commission already visited the city. The inspectors liked Basket Hall, there were no questions about the infrastructure of Kazan, in general. ''If we're given the right to host this competition, we'll do it for sure,'' Leonov added.
  6. Kazan is going to stage MMA and cybersports competitions further on. Red Bull Air Race is due to take place again in August 2018.
  7. Kazan will host other big tournaments in 2018 apart from the football world cup:
  • World Taekwondo Championships
  • BWF World Championships
  • Russian Synchronised Swimming Championships (planned)
  • Russian Athletics Championships
  • World Swimming Series
  • World Diving Stage
  • Russian Artistic Gymnastics Championships
  • Mass competitions (triathlon competitions, marathons, etc.)
By Yulya Krasnikova. Photo: Oleg Tikhonov