2018 FIFA World Cup

This page was last edited on 8 December 2017, at 15:48.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup will be the 21st FIFA World Cup, a quadrennial international football tournament contested by the men's national teams of the member associations of FIFA. It is scheduled to take place in Russia from 14 June to 15 July 2018,[2] after the country was awarded the hosting rights on 2 December 2010. This will be the first World Cup held in Europe since 2006; all but one of the stadium venues are in European Russia, west of the Ural Mountains to keep travel time manageable.

The final tournament will involve 32 national teams, which include 31 teams determined through qualifying competitions and the automatically qualified host team. Of the 32 teams, 20 will be making back-to-back appearances following the last edition of the tournament in 2014, including defending champions Germany, while Iceland and Panama will both be making their first appearances at a FIFA World Cup. A total of 64 matches will be played in 12 venues located in 11 cities. The final will take place on 15 July in Moscow at the Luzhniki Stadium.[3][4][5]

The winners of the World Cup will qualify for the 2021 FIFA Confederations Cup.

2018 FIFA World Cup
Чемпионат мира по футболу 2018 (Chempionat mira po futbolu 2018)[1]
2018 FIFA World Cup.svg
Tournament details
Host country Russia
Dates 14 June – 15 July
Teams 32 (from 5 confederations)
Venue(s) 12 (in 11 host cities)

Host selection

Russia 2018 World Cup.jpeg
Russian bid personnel celebrate the awarding of the 2018 World Cup to Russia.
Vladimir Putin FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour kick-off ceremony.jpg
President Vladimir Putin gave the start to the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. 9 September 2017

The bidding procedure to host the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups began in January 2009, and national associations had until 2 February 2009 to register their interest.[6] Initially, nine countries placed bids for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, but Mexico later withdrew from proceedings,[7] and Indonesia's bid was rejected by FIFA in February 2010 after the Indonesian government failed to submit a letter to support the bid.[8] During the bidding process, the three remaining non-UEFA nations (Australia, Japan, and the United States) gradually withdrew from the 2018 bids, and the UEFA nations were thus ruled out of the 2022 bid. As such, there were eventually four bids for the 2018 FIFA World Cup: England, Russia, Netherlands/Belgium, and Portugal/Spain.

The twenty-two-member FIFA Executive Committee convened in Zürich on 2 December 2010 to vote to select the hosts of both tournaments.[9] Russia won the right to be the 2018 host in the second round of voting. The Portugal/Spain bid came second, and that from Belgium/Netherlands third. England's bid to host its second tournament fell at the first hurdle.[10]

The voting results were as follows:[11]

2018 FIFA bidding (majority 12 votes)
Bidders Votes
Round 1 Round 2
Russia 9 13
Portugal / Spain 7 7
Belgium / Netherlands 4 2
England 2 Eliminated

Teams

Qualification

For the first time in the history of the FIFA World Cup, all eligible nations – the 209 FIFA member associations minus automatically qualified hosts Russia – entered the qualifying process.[12] Zimbabwe and Indonesia were later disqualified before playing their first matches,[13][14] while Gibraltar and Kosovo, who joined FIFA on 13 May 2016 after the qualifying draw but before European qualifying had begun, also entered the competition.[15] Places in the tournament were allocated to continental confederations, with the allocation unchanged from the 2014 World Cup.[16][17] The first qualification game began in Dili, Timor Leste, on 12 March 2015 as part of the AFC's qualification,[18] and the main qualifying draw took place at the Konstantinovsky Palace in Strelna, Saint Petersburg on 25 July 2015 at 18:00 local time (UTC+3).[19][20][21][2]

Of the thirty-two nations qualified to play at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, twenty countries competed at the previous edition of the tournament in 2014. Both Iceland and Panama qualified for the first time, with the former becoming the smallest country in terms of population to reach the World Cup.[22] Other teams returning after absences of at least three tournaments include: Egypt, returning to the finals after a 28-year absence from their last appearance in 1990; Morocco, who last competed in 1998; Peru, returning after a 36-year absence (since 1982); and Senegal, competing for the second time after reaching the quarter-finals in 2002. It is the first time three Nordic countries (Denmark, Iceland and Sweden) and four Arab nations (Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia) have qualified for the World Cup.[23]

Notable countries that failed to qualify include four-time champions Italy (for the first time since 1958) and 2014 third-place finishers Netherlands. Four reigning continental champions failed to qualify: 2017 Africa Cup of Nations winner Cameroon, two-time Copa América champion and 2017 Confederations Cup runner-up Chile, 2016 OFC Nations Cup winner New Zealand, and 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup champion United States (for the first time since 1986). The other notable qualifying streaks broken were for Ghana and Ivory Coast, who had both made the previous three tournaments.

2018 world cup qualification.PNG
  Teams qualified for World Cup
  Teams failed to qualify for World Cup
  Teams expelled from the tournament by FIFA prior to playing a match
  Countries were not FIFA members

Draw

The draw was held on 1 December 2017, at 18:00 MSK, at the State Kremlin Palace in Moscow.[24][25] The 32 teams were drawn into eight groups of four.

For the draw, the teams were allocated to four pots based on the FIFA World Rankings of October 2017. Pot 1 contained the hosts Russia (who were automatically assigned to Position A1) and the best seven teams, Pot 2 contained the next best eight teams, and so on for Pots 3 and 4.[26] This was different from previous draws, where only Pot 1 was based on FIFA Rankings while the remaining pots were based on geographical considerations. However, still retained was the fact that teams from the same confederation were not drawn against each other for the group stage, except for UEFA where each group contained up to two teams.

Pot 1 Pot 2 Pot 3 Pot 4

 Russia (65) (hosts)
 Germany (1)
 Brazil (2)
 Portugal (3)
 Argentina (4)
 Belgium (5)
 Poland (6)
 France (7)

 Spain (8)
 Peru (10)
  Switzerland (11)
 England (12)
 Colombia (13)
 Mexico (16)
 Uruguay (17)
 Croatia (18)

 Denmark (19)
 Iceland (21)
 Costa Rica (22)
 Sweden (25)
 Tunisia (28)
 Egypt (30)
 Senegal (32)
 Iran (34)

 Serbia (38)
 Nigeria (41)
 Australia (43)
 Japan (44)
 Morocco (48)
 Panama (49)
 South Korea (62)
 Saudi Arabia (63)

Squads

Each team must first name a preliminary squad of 30 players. From the preliminary squad, the team must name a final squad of 23 players (three of whom must be goalkeepers) by the FIFA deadline. Players in the final squad may be replaced due to serious injury up to 24 hours prior to kickoff of the team's first match, where the replacement players do not need to be in the preliminary squad.[27]

For players named in the 30-player preliminary squad, there is a mandatory rest period between 21 and 27 May 2018, except for those involved in the 2018 UEFA Champions League Final played on 26 May.[28]

Venues

Russia proposed the following host cities: Kaliningrad, Kazan, Krasnodar, Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don, Saint Petersburg, Samara, Saransk, Sochi, Volgograd, Yaroslavl, and Yekaterinburg.[29] All the cities are in or just outside European Russia to reduce travel time for the teams in the huge country. The bid evaluation report stated: "The Russian bid proposes 13 host cities and 16 stadiums, thus exceeding FIFA's minimum requirement. Three of the 16 stadiums would be renovated, and 13 would be newly constructed."[30]

In October 2011, Russia decreased the number of stadiums from 16 to 14. Construction of the proposed Podolsk stadium in the Moscow region was cancelled by the regional government, and also in the capital, Otkrytiye Arena was competing with Dynamo Stadium over which would be constructed first.[31]

The final choice of host cities was announced on 29 September 2012. The number of cities was further reduced to 11 and number of stadiums to 12 as Krasnodar and Yaroslavl were dropped from the final list.[32]

Sepp Blatter stated in July 2014 that due to concerns over the completion of venues in Russia, the number of venues for the tournament may be reduced from 12 to 10. He also said, "We are not going to be in a situation, as is the case of one, two or even three stadiums in South Africa, where it is a problem of what you do with these stadiums".[33]

In October 2014, on their first official visit to Russia, FIFA's inspection committee and its head Chris Unger visited St Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan and both Moscow venues. They were satisfied with the progress.[34]

On 8 October 2015, FIFA and the Local Organising Committee agreed on the official names of the stadiums used during the tournament.[35]

Of the 12 venues used, the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow and the Saint Petersburg Stadium (the two largest stadiums in Russia) will be used most, with 7 matches being played at each of these stadiums. Sochi, Kazan, Nizhny Novogrod and Samara will host 6 matches including one quarter-final match apiece, and the Otkrytiye Stadium in Moscow and Rostov-on-Don will host 5 matches apiece including one round of 16 match each. Volgograd, Kaliningrad, Yekaterinburg and Saransk will host 4 matches each and none of these cities will host any knockout stage games.

Moscow Saint Petersburg Kaliningrad
Luzhniki Stadium Otkrytiye Arena
(Spartak Stadium)
Krestovsky Stadium
(Saint Petersburg Stadium)
Kaliningrad Stadium
Capacity: 81,000 Capacity: 45,360 Capacity: 68,134 Capacity: 35,212[36]
(new stadium)
Luzhniki Stadium1.jpg Stadium Spartak in Moscow.jpg Spb 06-2017 img40 Krestovsky Stadium.jpg Kaliningrad 05-2017 img72 new stadium.jpg
Kazan Nizhny Novgorod
Kazan Arena Nizhny Novgorod Stadium
Capacity: 45,379 Capacity: 44,899
(new stadium)
Kazan Arena 08-2016.jpg Construction of Nizhny Novgorod Stadium.jpg
Samara Volgograd
Cosmos Arena
(Samara Arena)
Volgograd Arena
Capacity: 44,918
(new stadium)
Capacity: 45,568
(rebuilt)
Самара Арена в ноябре 2017.jpg Volgograd Arena.jpg
Saransk Rostov-on-Don Sochi Yekaterinburg
Mordovia Arena Rostov Arena Fisht Olympic Stadium
(Fisht Stadium)
Central Stadium
(Ekaterinburg Arena)
Capacity: 44,442
(new stadium)
Capacity: 45,000
(new stadium)
Capacity: 47,659 Capacity: 35,696[36]
(upgraded)
Mordovia-Arena stadium(building).jpg
Rostov Arena 21.05.2017.jpg
Fisht Olympic Stadium 2017.jpg
Estadio Central.jpg

Schedule

%D0%94%D0%BE %D1%87%D0%B5%D0%BC%D0%BF%D0%B8%D0%BE%D0%BD%D0%B0%D1%82%D0%B0 %D0%BC%D0%B8%D1%80%D0%B0 %D0%BF%D0%BE %D1%84%D1%83%D1%82%D0%B1%D0%BE%D0%BB%D1%83 2018 %D0%B3%D0%BE%D0%B4%D0%B0 %E2%80%93 1000 %D0%B4%D0%BD%D0%B5%D0%B9 01.jpg
A ceremony in Moscow launching the countdown from 1000 days until the 2018 FIFA Football World Cup begins in Russia.

The full schedule was announced by FIFA on 24 July 2015 (without kick-off times, which were confirmed later).[37][38] On 1 December 2017, following the final draw, six kick-off times were adjusted by FIFA.[39] Russia was placed in position A1 in the group stage and will play in the opening match at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on 14 June against Saudi Arabia, the two lowest ranked teams of the tournament at the time of the final draw.[40] The Luzhniki Stadium will also host the second semi-final on 11 July and the final on 15 July. The Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg will host the first semi-final on 10 July and the third place match on 14 July.[16]

Group stage

The top two teams of each group advance to the round of 16. Matches are played on a round-robin basis.

All times listed are local time.[39]

Tiebreakers

The rankings of teams in each group are determined as follows (regulations Article 32.5):[27]

  1. points obtained in all group matches;
  2. goal difference in all group matches;
  3. number of goals scored in all group matches;

If two or more teams are equal on the basis of the above three criteria, their rankings are determined as follows:

  1. points obtained in the group matches between the teams concerned;
  2. goal difference in the group matches between the teams concerned;
  3. number of goals scored in the group matches between the teams concerned;
  4. fair play points
    • first yellow card: minus 1 point;
    • indirect red card (second yellow card): minus 3 points;
    • direct red card: minus 4 points;
    • yellow card and direct red card: minus 5 points;
  5. drawing of lots by the FIFA Organising Committee.

Group A

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Russia (H) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Advance to knockout stage
2  Saudi Arabia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3  Egypt 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
4  Uruguay 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
First match(es) will be played on 14 June 2018. Source: FIFA
Rules for classification: Group stage tiebreakers
(H) Host.

14 June 2018
18:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Russia  Match 1  Saudi Arabia
Report

15 June 2018
17:00 YEKT (UTC+5)
Egypt  Match 2  Uruguay
Report

19 June 2018
21:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Russia  Match 17  Egypt
Report

20 June 2018
18:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Uruguay  Match 18  Saudi Arabia
Report

25 June 2018
18:00 SAMT (UTC+4)
Uruguay  Match 33  Russia
Report

25 June 2018
17:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Saudi Arabia  Match 34  Egypt
Report

Group B

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Portugal 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Advance to knockout stage
2  Spain 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3  Morocco 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
4  Iran 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
First match(es) will be played on 15 June 2018. Source: FIFA
Rules for classification: Group stage tiebreakers

15 June 2018
18:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Morocco  Match 4  Iran
Report

15 June 2018
21:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Portugal  Match 3  Spain
Report

20 June 2018
15:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Portugal  Match 19  Morocco
Report

20 June 2018
21:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Iran  Match 20  Spain
Report

25 June 2018
21:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Iran  Match 35  Portugal
Report

25 June 2018
20:00 KALT (UTC+2)
Spain  Match 36  Morocco
Report

Group C

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  France 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Advance to knockout stage
2  Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3  Peru 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
4  Denmark 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
First match(es) will be played on 16 June 2018. Source: FIFA
Rules for classification: Group stage tiebreakers

16 June 2018
13:00 MSK (UTC+3)
France  Match 5  Australia
Report

16 June 2018
19:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Peru  Match 6  Denmark
Report

21 June 2018
16:00 SAMT (UTC+4)
Denmark  Match 22  Australia
Report

21 June 2018
20:00 YEKT (UTC+5)
France  Match 21  Peru
Report

26 June 2018
17:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Denmark  Match 37  France
Report

26 June 2018
17:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Australia  Match 38  Peru
Report

Group D

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Advance to knockout stage
2  Iceland 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3  Croatia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
4  Nigeria 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
First match(es) will be played on 16 June 2018. Source: FIFA
Rules for classification: Group stage tiebreakers

16 June 2018
16:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Argentina  Match 7  Iceland
Report

16 June 2018
21:00 KALT (UTC+2)
Croatia  Match 8  Nigeria
Report

21 June 2018
21:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Argentina  Match 23  Croatia
Report

22 June 2018
18:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Nigeria  Match 24  Iceland
Report

26 June 2018
21:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Nigeria  Match 39  Argentina
Report

26 June 2018
21:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Iceland  Match 40  Croatia
Report

Group E

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Brazil 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Advance to knockout stage
2   Switzerland 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3  Costa Rica 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
4  Serbia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
First match(es) will be played on 17 June 2018. Source: FIFA
Rules for classification: Group stage tiebreakers

17 June 2018
16:00 SAMT (UTC+4)
Costa Rica  Match 10  Serbia
Report

17 June 2018
21:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Brazil  Match 9   Switzerland
Report

22 June 2018
15:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Brazil  Match 25  Costa Rica
Report

22 June 2018
20:00 KALT (UTC+2)
Serbia  Match 26   Switzerland
Report

27 June 2018
21:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Serbia  Match 41  Brazil
Report

27 June 2018
21:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Switzerland   Match 42  Costa Rica
Report

Group F

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Germany 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Advance to knockout stage
2  Mexico 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3  Sweden 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
4  South Korea 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
First match(es) will be played on 17 June 2018. Source: FIFA
Rules for classification: Group stage tiebreakers

17 June 2018
18:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Germany  Match 11  Mexico
Report

18 June 2018
15:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Sweden  Match 12  South Korea
Report

23 June 2018
18:00 MSK (UTC+3)
South Korea  Match 28  Mexico
Report

23 June 2018
21:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Germany  Match 27  Sweden
Report

27 June 2018
17:00 MSK (UTC+3)
South Korea  Match 43  Germany
Report

27 June 2018
19:00 YEKT (UTC+5)
Mexico  Match 44  Sweden
Report

Group G

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Belgium 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Advance to knockout stage
2  Panama 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3  Tunisia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
4  England 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
First match(es) will be played on 18 June 2018. Source: FIFA
Rules for classification: Group stage tiebreakers

18 June 2018
18:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Belgium  Match 13  Panama
Report

18 June 2018
21:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Tunisia  Match 14  England
Report

23 June 2018
15:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Belgium  Match 29  Tunisia
Report

24 June 2018
15:00 MSK (UTC+3)
England  Match 30  Panama
Report

28 June 2018
20:00 KALT (UTC+2)
England  Match 45  Belgium
Report

28 June 2018
21:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Panama  Match 46  Tunisia
Report

Group H

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Poland 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Advance to knockout stage
2  Senegal 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3  Colombia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
4  Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
First match(es) will be played on 19 June 2018. Source: FIFA
Rules for classification: Group stage tiebreakers

19 June 2018
15:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Colombia  Match 16  Japan
Report

19 June 2018
18:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Poland  Match 15  Senegal
Report

24 June 2018
20:00 YEKT (UTC+5)
Japan  Match 32  Senegal
Report

24 June 2018
21:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Poland  Match 31  Colombia
Report

28 June 2018
17:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Japan  Match 47  Poland
Report

28 June 2018
18:00 SAMT (UTC+4)
Senegal  Match 48  Colombia
Report

Knockout stage

In the knockout stages, if a match is level at the end of normal playing time, extra time is played (two periods of 15 minutes each) and followed, if necessary, by a penalty shoot-out to determine the winners.[27]

Bracket

 
Round of 16 Quarter-finals Semi-finals Final
 
                           
 
30 June – Sochi
 
 
Winners Group A
 
6 July – Nizhny Novgorod
 
Runners-up Group B
 
Winners Match 49
 
30 June – Kazan
 
Winners Match 50
 
Winners Group C
 
10 July – Saint Petersburg
 
Runners-up Group D
 
Winners Match 57
 
2 July – Samara
 
Winners Match 58
 
Winners Group E
 
6 July – Kazan
 
Runners-up Group F
 
Winners Match 53
 
2 July – Rostov-on-Don
 
Winners Match 54
 
Winners Group G
 
15 July – Moscow (Luzhniki)
 
Runners-up Group H
 
Winners Match 61
 
1 July – Moscow (Luzhniki)
 
Winners Match 62
 
Winners Group B
 
7 July – Sochi
 
Runners-up Group A
 
Winners Match 51
 
1 July – Nizhny Novgorod
 
Winners Match 52
 
Winners Group D
 
11 July – Moscow (Luzhniki)
 
Runners-up Group C
 
Winners Match 59
 
3 July – Saint Petersburg
 
Winners Match 60 Third place play-off
 
Winners Group F
 
7 July – Samara 14 July – Saint Petersburg
 
Runners-up Group E
 
Winners Match 55 Losers Match 61
 
3 July – Moscow (Otkrytiye)
 
Winners Match 56 Losers Match 62
 
Winners Group H
 
 
Runners-up Group G
 

Round of 16

30 June 2018
17:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Winners Group C Match 50 Runners-up Group D
Report

30 June 2018
21:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Winners Group A Match 49 Runners-up Group B
Report

1 July 2018
17:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Winners Group B Match 51 Runners-up Group A
Report

1 July 2018
21:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Winners Group D Match 52 Runners-up Group C
Report

2 July 2018
18:00 SAMT (UTC+4)
Winners Group E Match 53 Runners-up Group F
Report

2 July 2018
21:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Winners Group G Match 54 Runners-up Group H
Report

3 July 2018
17:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Winners Group F Match 55 Runners-up Group E
Report

3 July 2018
21:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Winners Group H Match 56 Runners-up Group G
Report

Quarter-finals

6 July 2018
17:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Winners Match 49 Match 57 Winners Match 50
Report

6 July 2018
21:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Winners Match 53 Match 58 Winners Match 54
Report

7 July 2018
18:00 SAMT (UTC+4)
Winners Match 55 Match 60 Winners Match 56
Report

7 July 2018
21:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Winners Match 51 Match 59 Winners Match 52
Report

Semi-finals

10 July 2018
21:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Winners Match 57 Match 61 Winners Match 58
Report

11 July 2018
21:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Winners Match 59 Match 62 Winners Match 60
Report

Third place play-off

14 July 2018
17:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Losers Match 61 Match 63 Losers Match 62
Report

Final

15 July 2018
18:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Winners Match 61 Match 64 Winners Match 62
Report

Prize money

Prize money amounts were announced in October 2017.[41]

Position Amount (USD million)
Per team Total
Champions 38 38
Runners-up 28 28
Third place 24 24
Fourth place 22 22
5th–8th place 16 64
9th–16th place 12 96
17th–32nd place 8 128
Total 400

Marketing

Branding

Dusha typeface sample2.tiff
The typeface used for branding

The tournament logo was unveiled on 28 October 2014 by cosmonauts at the International Space Station and then projected onto Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre during an evening television programme. Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said that the logo was inspired by "Russia's rich artistic tradition and its history of bold achievement and innovation", and FIFA President Sepp Blatter stated that it reflected the "heart and soul" of the country.[42] For the branding, a typeface called Dusha (from Душа, Russian for soul) was created by Portuguese design agency Brandia Central in 2014.

Mascot

The official FIFA World Cup mascot for the 2018 tournament, a wolf named Zabivaka ("the one who scores" in Russian), was unveiled on 21 October 2016. Representing an anthropomorphic wolf with brown and white wool T-shirt with the words "RUSSIA 2018" and orange sport glasses. The combination of white, blue and red T-shirt and shorts are the national colors of the Russian team. The student designer is Ekaterina Bocharova, and the mascot was selected by Internet voting.

The election results were announced on 22 October 2016, in the Evening Urgant on Channel One Russia. Wolf, named Zabivaka, scored 53% of the vote, ahead of Tiger (27%). Cat, with 20% of the vote, was third. More than 1 million people participated in the voting, which took place during September 2016 on the FIFA platforms, as well as during the live broadcast on Channel One, where the results of the creative competition were announced.[43]

Ticketing

The first phase of ticket sales started on 14 September 2017, 12:00 Moscow time, and lasted until 12 October 2017.[44] The general visa policy of Russia will not apply to the World Cup participants and fans, who will be able to visit Russia without a visa right before and during the competition regardless of their citizenship.[45]

Controversies

As with the 2014 Winter Olympics, the choice of Russia as host has been challenged. Controversial issues have included the level of racism in Russian football,[46][47] and discrimination against LGBT people in wider Russian society.[48][49] Russia's involvement in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine has also caused calls for the tournament to be moved, particularly following the annexation of Crimea.[50][51] FIFA President Sepp Blatter said: "The World Cup has been given and voted to Russia and we are going forward with our work".[52]

Allegations of corruption in the bidding processes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups caused threats from England's FA to boycott the tournament.[53] FIFA appointed Michael J. Garcia, a US attorney, to investigate and produce a report (the Garcia Report) on the corruption allegations. Although the report was never published, FIFA released a 42-page summary of its findings as determined by German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert. Eckert's summary cleared Russia and Qatar of any wrongdoing, but was denounced by critics as a whitewash.[54] Garcia criticised the summary as being "materially incomplete" with "erroneous representations of the facts and conclusions", and appealed to FIFA's Appeal Committee.[55][56] The committee declined to hear his appeal, so Garcia resigned in protest of FIFA's conduct, citing a "lack of leadership" and lack of confidence in the independence of Eckert.[57]

On 3 June 2015, the FBI confirmed that the federal authorities were investigating the bidding and awarding processes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.[58][59] In an interview published on 7 June 2015, Domenico Scala, the head of FIFA's Audit And Compliance Committee, stated that "should there be evidence that the awards to Qatar and Russia came only because of bought votes, then the awards could be cancelled".[60][61]

Due to the financial crisis in the Russian economy, the budget for the preparations was cut a few times. In June 2015, a government decree cut the budget by $560 million, to a total of $11.8 billion.[62]

After Morocco qualified for the tournament with a 2–0 victory over Ivory Coast, the celebrations by the Moroccan community in Brussels turned into a riot with cars burnt, shops looted by some 300 rioters and 20 police officers injured.[63][64] Firefighters sent to put out the fires were also attacked by the rioters.[64]

Doping in Russia

Russia has had the most (49) Olympic medals stripped for doping violations – the most of any country, four times the number of the runner-up, and nearly a third of the global total. From 2011 to 2015, more than a thousand Russian competitors in various sports, including summer, winter, and Paralympic sports, benefited from a cover-up.[65][66][67][68] 33 footballers are listed in the McLaren Report.[69]

On 5 December 2017 the IOC announced that Russia is not allowed to at the 2018 Olympics.[70] Deputy Prime Minister and President of the Russian Football Union Vitaly Mutko was banned for life from future Olympic Games for his role in the doping conspiracy.[71]

Broadcasting rights

FIFA, through several companies, sold the broadcasting rights for the 2018 FIFA World Cup to various local broadcasters.

In the United States, the 2018 World Cup will be the first men's World Cup whose rights will be held by Fox Sports. The elimination of the U.S. national team in qualifying led to concerns that U.S. interest and viewership of this World Cup would be reduced (particularly "casual" viewers interested in the U.S. team), especially noting how much Fox paid for the rights, and that U.S. games at the 2014 World Cup peaked at 16.5 million viewers. During a launch event prior to the elimination, Fox stated that it had planned to place a secondary focus on the Mexican team in its coverage to take advantage of their popularity in the U.S.; the network stated that it still committed to broadcasting a significant amount of coverage for the tournament.[72][73][74]

Sponsorship

FIFA partners FIFA World Cup sponsors European supporters

See also

References

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