MOSCOW: Russia’s preparations for the 2018 World Cup took another step forward when President Vladimir Putin signed off on the ‘World Cup Law’ that will underpin the event.
RIA Novosti has reported that the main aspect of the law that will impact on the Russian way of life will be the granting of powers allowing FIFA to stop commerce in large areas of the 2018 World Cup host cities.
FIFA or its nominees must give written approval for any trading or advertising within two kilometres of a stadium on match day. The news agency reports that this aspect will cover several Moscow districts home to 10s of thousands of people and most of central Volgograd.
The bill passed its first reading in November and while it does not specify punishments for rule infractions, it adds that any cases will be treated as breaches of Russian antitrust law.
The law also exempts FIFA from Russian tax and will see another major change to the country’s sporting regulations.
Russia currently operates a blanket ban on the sale of alcohol at sporting events, but this will be lifted for the World Cup. The sale of alcohol was one of the main sticking points behind Brazil’s implementation of its World Cup Law for the 2014 tournament – a bill that was finally signed off by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff in June 2012.
FIFA had wanted the law put in place earlier in the year and it was a cause of increased tensions between world football’s governing body and local organisers.
The sale of alcohol inside World Cup venues is a major issue as Budweiser is a key World Cup sponsor.
FIFA had demanded that Brazil’s current ban on alcohol at football venues be changed, but critics said it took Brazil a long time to introduce the ban, a move that helped reduce fan violence at games.
Russia 2018 said last month that it expected the country’s World Cup law to be signed off this year and it appears the path to its approval has run smoother than that of Brazil’s.
The competition’s complex nature calls for legal regulations to be introduced in various spheres of law and business, therefore making the adoption of a federal law one of the top priorities for the local organising committee and FIFA.
The law aligns the Russian legal system to the needs of the competition, and guarantees the commitments Russia gave during the bidding process in 2010.
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