World Cup 2018 Local Organizing Committee CEO Alexey Sorokin says the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, which took place in Russia from June 17 to July 2, dispelled many stereotypes about the country and has improved Russia’s international image.
A little less than two weeks later after the Confederation Cup, which is seen as the final preparation before the World Cup – which will be hosted in Russia next summer – Sorokin shared his thoughts on the tournament.
“I think we have improved [Russia’s image]. We see how people encourage their compatriots to visit the World Cup,” Moscow native Sorokin told TASS.
“There were many joyful reviews about the food and culture. We have dispelled many stereotypes.”
Speaking about the most notable reviews from visitors, Sorokin mentioned an open letter from German captain Julian Draxler to the Russian fans and the tournament organizers, in which he shared his own experiences and that of the team in Sochi, Kazan, and St. Petersburg.
“There was a very pleasant review from the German captain Julian Draxler, who said in his letter that Russia hosted an excellent tournament. There also were very nice words from Germany manager Joachim Low, regarding Sochi. And of course, a completely unexpected ode to Kazan from Portugal. It was powerful.”
Asked if the Organizing Committee expects negative publicity in the Western media prior to the World Cup, Sorokin said: “We are not expecting it at all, we take everything calmly. Clearly, the topics will be rather similar. They appear, then fade away because of the absence of any grounds.”
He also stressed that the positive experience of the tournament in terms of planning, logistics, and infrastructure will be used at the World Cup next year.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup will be hosted in Russia across eleven cities from June 14 to July 15 – the first ever World Cup in Russia.