KEIR RADNEDGE in MOSCOW: World football federation FIFA maintained a relentless barrage of announcements in the run-up to the 2018 World Cup draw in Moscow. Such as:
— Ambassadors for the 2018 FIFA Fan Fest™, the official public viewing of the FIFA World Cup, will be legendary players Aleksandr Kerzhakov – top striker of the Russian national team and in the Russian league history – and Marcel Desailly – FIFA World Cup™ champion with France in 1998.
[They] will promote the FIFA Fan Fest™ and motivate football fans from all over the world to visit, free of charge, the 11 unique locations organised by FIFA in close collaboration with the 2018 FWC Host Cities.
Kerzhakov and Desailly will also make several guest appearances at the selected locations of the FIFA Fan Fest™ during the tournament. The announcement was hosted by Yana Churikova, Russian journalist and 2018 FIFA World Cup Ambassador, and took place in the State Kremlin Palace, the same location as the Official Draw.
Kerzhakov said: “It is a great honour for my country to be hosting the 21st edition of the FIFA World Cup™ next year and I am convinced that the FIFA Fan Fest™ will contribute greatly to the overall experience for the attending fans.”
Desailly said: “During my football career, I played in several different countries in front of impressive crowds. I hope to see these fans from all over the world again at the FIFA Fan Fest™ locations to celebrate football together.”
Since the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ in Germany the FIFA Fan Fest™ has become part of the Official Programme and continued for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ and the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, with almost 30 million people attending these events over these past three editions.
—- Ambassadors of the 2018 FIFA World Cup host cities will be:
Ekaterinburg – Alexander Pantykin, musician. Irina Zilber, Olympic champion. Sergey Karyakin, moto racer
Kaliningrad – Natalia Ischenko, Olympic champion
Kazan – Nusha, singer. Ekaterina Skulkina, comedian
Moscow – Maria Kiseleva, Olympic champion and TV presenter
Nizhny Novgorod – Dmitry Cheryshev, coach. Daria Shkurikhina, Olympic champion
Saint Petersburg – Alexander Kerzhakov, former football player
Samara – Sergey Voitenko, musician. Tagir Khaybulaev, Olympic champion
Saransk – Igor Butman, musician. Stanislav Duzhnikov, actor
Sochi – Evgeny Lovchev, former football player
Rostov-on-Don – Dmitry Kirichenko, former football player
Volgograd – Larisa Ilchenko, Olympic champion. Alexander Nikitin, former football player
— ‘Legend’ draw assistants will be: Laurent Blanc, Gordon Banks, Cafu, Fabio Cannavaro, Diego Forlán, Diego Maradona, Carles Puyol and Nikita Simonyan, representing host Russia and seven of the eight FIFA World Cup-winning nations (Germany will be represented by trophy bearer Miroslav Klose).
— Sales phase 1 for the World Cup concluded with 742,760 tickets allocated so far during the two periods of sales phase 1. Most of the applications came from Russia while international demand increased steadily and currently accounts for 47pc of all applications so far.
Fans from the USA, Brazil, Germany, China, Mexico, Israel, Argentina, Australia, and England all rank in the top 10.
FIFA Head of Ticketing Falk Eller said: “We are very pleased with the results of the first sales phase. They confirmed the great interest sparked by the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia – both at local and international level. The next opportunity to secure a place at this unique event will start on December 5 when fans from all over the world will be able to apply for individual match tickets.
“Category 4 tickets, which are exclusively reserved for Russian residents, will also be available.”
Fans will be able to apply for individual match tickets and other ticket products exclusively on FIFA.com/tickets until 31 January 2018. In cases where the number of tickets applied for exceeds the available inventory, tickets will be allocated by a random selection draw process.
Official supporters of all 32 participating member associations will be able to apply for supporter tickets and conditional supporter tickets for their national team’s matches. These tickets will come out of the allocation made available to each of the teams playing in the match in question.
Supporter tickets are tickets for each of the three group matches that will be played by a team.
Conditional supporter tickets are tickets for each of the four knockout phase matches that could potentially be played by a team, with such tickets remaining conditional upon a team qualifying for the respective rounds of the tournament.
FIFA has also made an allocation of tickets available for disabled people in accordance with the number of seats available in the 12 stadiums for people with limited mobility or classified as obese.
— Over the past 78 days, the FIFA World Cup Original Trophy has visited 16 cities in Russia, including four Host Cities of the tournament.
During the tour, which ended on 26 November, fans were offered a taste of the upcoming festival of football and came as close as you can be to the trophy every player is dreaming of lifting.
—- National coaches present (with the exception of Australia and Uruguay) will be:
SAMPAOLI Jorge Argentina
MARTINEZ Roberto Belgium
PEKERMAN Jose Colombia
RAMIREZ Oscar Costa Rica
DALIC Zlatko Croatia
HAREIDE Age Denmark
CUPER Hector Egypt
SOUTHGATE Gareth England
DESCHAMPS Didier France
LOEW Joachim Germany
HALLGRIMSSON Heimir Iceland
QUEIROZ Carlos Iran
HALILHODZIC Vahid Japan
SHIN Tae Yong Korea Republic
OSORIO Juan Carlos Mexico
RENARD Herve Morocco
ROHR Gernot Nigeria
GOMEZ Hernan Panama
GARECA Ricardo Peru
NAWALKA Adam Poland
SANTOS Fernando Portugal
CHERCHESOV Stanislav Russia
PIZZI Juan Antonio Saudi Arabia
CISSE Aliou Senegal
KRSTAJIC Mladen Serbia
LOPETEGUI Julen Spain
ANDERSSON Janne Sweden
PETKOVIC Vladimir Switzerland
MAALOUL Nabil Tunisia
Australia have not appointed a successor to Ange Postecoglou who resigned last week; Uruguay’s Oscar Washington Tabarez is the only absentee by choice.