World Cup 2018 Russia
The bidding process for the hosting of the 2018 FIFA world cup started in January 2009. The nationalities which had interests had until the 2nd of February to present their bids. 9 countries expressed their interest with Russia included. Russia was selected to host the 2018 FIFA men’s world cup tournament on 2nd December 2010. The twenty-two-member FIFA committee selected Russia on the second round of voting to host the tournament ahead of Portugal/Spain and Belgium/Netherlands. The World Cup 2018 Russia logo was unveiled by cosmonauts at the International Space Station on 28th October 2014. This logo was then projected during an evening television station onto Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre. According to the Russian Sports Ministry, the logo was fully inspired by Russia’s bold achievement and innovation history on addition to her rich artistic tradition.
Every one of the 209 FIFA member nationalities is eligible to qualify for the tournament with the qualification draw scheduled to take place on July 25th, 2015 at the Konstantinovsky Palace in Strelna, Saint Petersburg. Russia have already qualified for the event since they are the hosts. Each confederation will be allocated a certain number of slots as it shall be discussed on May 30th 2015 by the FIFA executive committee in Zurich right after the FIFA congress with a total of 32 national teams expected to participate in the tournament. A total of 11 cities with 12 stadiums are expected to host the tournament. All these cities are located near the Russia European region for the ease of travel by teams commuting from one stadium to the other.
Though the full schedule has not been confirmed, the following stadiums have already been selected to host certain matches. The opening match on the 14th of June, the 2nd semi-final on the 11th of July and the final on the 15th of July will be hosted at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. The first semi-final on the 10th of July and the 3rd place match on the 14th of July will be hosted at the Zenit Arena in Saint Petersburg. Controversial issues including racism in Russian football, corruption, involvement in the wrangles in Ukraine, allegations of Russia’s involvement in the destruction of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 and the annexation of Crimea have resulted in calls for the tournament to be moved from Russia. Amid all these allegations FIFA have decided to go on with the preparations of World Cup 2018 Russia tournament.
Russia have confirmed that their general visa policy will not be applicable to the participants and fans of the World Cup tournament. The fans and participants will have permits to visit Russia with no visa rights before and during the tournament regardless of their nationalities and citizenship.