The 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia results, the implementation of the heritage concept and future use of the infrastructure and sports facilities were on the agenda.
* * *
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon.
Today we are holding a joint meeting of the Council for [the Development of Physical Culture and] Sport and the Supervisory Board of the 2018 Russia Organising Committee’s Supervisory Board. I suggest we discuss the issues of the heritage of the FIFA World Cup. And this heritage is really large, if not enormous. I am referring not only to sports arenas, airports, roads, infrastructure facilities and the development of our cities but also to the humanitarian, human dimension, the growth in interest of the younger generation and basically people of all ages in sport, the friendly attitude of people from different countries towards Russia and their desire to return to this country again.
Of course, like after the Sochi Olympic Games, we need to map out specific measures that will allow us to effectively use these modern stadiums, fields and sports grounds that we built for the World Cup. For Russia, the World Cup has been the biggest international sporting event. The preparations took eight years. It required serious investment and the efforts of hundreds of thousands of people. As promised, we organised it at the highest level and its success is now an objectively recognised fact.
I congratulate all those who were involved in the preparations and management of the games. I would like to thank once again everyone: workers, engineers, city press centres, and the hospitality industry, and all those that ensured the security of the arenas and streets, transport and the fan fest zones.
I would like to give special thanks to the regions that hosted the games, their governors, the 2018 Russia Organising Committee and, of course, our wonderful volunteers. I have already had the pleasure of meeting with them; some of them are here. Thank you very much.
Russia gave the world an unforgettable holiday. It has already gone down in history as one of the most spectacular and unpredictable from the sporting point of view, and also the most comprehensive FIFA World Cup, and will forever be remembered for its unmatched atmosphere of friendliness and unity, and acts of empathy and assistance from all sides.
I consider it important to establish a commemorative FIFA World Cup in Russia medal and use it to decorate those who made a significant contribution to this ambitious project.
I would like to note the solid and uncompromising play of our team, which gave Russian fans the long-awaited joy of victory. Where is the coach? Mr Cherchesov, thank you very much.
The head coach, the entire coaching staff and the support system, and the players themselves – everyone fought hard. Everyone did their best and played as a team. They impressed us with their perseverance, persistence and high quality of play. It is important to maintain that fighting spirit and unity. The UEFA Nations League and UEFA Euro 2020 are coming next. We should be training for these games the same way we trained for the World Cup, not just players and coaches. As you may be aware, several UEFA Nations League and UEFA Euro 2020 matches will be held in St Petersburg, Sochi, Rostov-on-Don and here in Kaliningrad.
I would like the relevant agencies, regional heads to ensure the quality of these events, especially since we now have this great positive experience and unique innovations that our country has implemented and which received high praise from FIFA and World Cup visitors. That includes, among other things, the video assistant referee (VAR) system, which was used for the first time during the football championship and implemented by our specialists, and also the free travel for ticket holders to the host cities to attend matches during the championship and, most importantly, the visa-replacing Fan ID cards.
Please analyse all the regulations adopted specifically for the championship for their possible capturing in legislation for subsequent use, for creating convenient conditions for our people and for our foreign guests, with a special focus on the Fan ID. Many countries and international organisations plan to adopt our experience, and we must build on it in any way we can. Director of the FSB, Mr Bortnikov, who is here, reported that our colleagues, that we worked with in security, showed great interest in our plan. Also, Fan IDs can be used to update the visa regulations, which we should do anyway, to remove the barriers and procedures that are a hassle for people.
Importantly, the championship not only eliminated stereotypes but also raised a wave of genuine interest in Russia, which, I repeat, along with the growing popularity of football, is a landmark of its intangible legacy.
I am sure that we must show an example of openness and support the wish of thousands of fans to return to our country and learn more about our culture, nature and the traditions of our families, relatives and children. It has already been decided to extend visa-free travel for Fan ID holders until January 1 of next year. Also, there are other ideas for improving the visa regime. We will talk about this later.
The infrastructure that we created, the arenas, have received positive feedback from FIFA, the teams, the spectators, the journalists and our citizens. Obviously, these World Cup facilities must continue operating at full capacity after the World Cup. This is what they were built for. I ask you to bear in mind the task of effectively using this sports infrastructure when working on amendments to the federal budget for 2018 and to reflect it in the budget for 2019–2021.
We will continue supporting World Cup infrastructure development programmes for five years to help them become self-sufficient by 2024 and serve as centres for the development of the cities, as well as social, business and cultural life. Here, we can rely on our own experience of effectively managing the heritage of major international sports competitions and take advantage of the best international practices. We will discuss this at length today as well.
Among other things, I ask the Ministry of Sport to report on the mechanisms and schedules for the transfer of the training facilities and stadiums to the regions and on the establishment of children's football centres that we planned to set up on the basis of the World Cup infrastructure.
In conclusion, two more important points related to sports in general. First, I would like to note the effectiveness of the independent public anti-doping commission headed by IOC honorary member Vitaly Smirnov. The goals that we set have been achieved and the constructive requirements set forth by WADA and the IOC have been taken into account. We are fulfilling our national plan to fight doping in sports. And we expect our partners to take reciprocal steps.
Second, the new membership of the Council and the new format of its activity have been approved. Four interdepartmental commissions have been envisaged: on coordination, control, international competitions, and the promotion of adaptive sports. And also, three working groups: on security, the development of sports medicine and the improvement of sports legislation. I am happy to welcome the Council's new members and want to wish them every success.
Let’s get down to work. Mr Kolobkov, you have the floor. But before we start, I would like to congratulate all the chess players in our country and the whole world on International Chess Day.
Mr Kolobkov, please.
Minister of Sport Pavel Kolobkov: Mr President, colleagues,
The first FIFA World Cup in Russia was definitely a success. International experts, athletes, fans and journalists praised it in the highest terms.
Statistics says a lot. Almost 1.8 million Russian and foreign fans from 195 countries received FAN IDs. The total number of people who visited the Fan Fest zones, also known as host cities’ fan zones, was 7.7 million. On average, the seats were 98 percent full during the matches. This result is a logical outcome of the huge amount of work that Russia did to prepare for and hold the championship. Russia began it as soon as the FIFA Executive Committee made its decision in 2010. The Ministry of Sport began it in December 2010, when the government entrusted it with coordinating all the agencies involved in the preparations for the World Cup: 40 federal ministries and agencies worked on the task, as well as 36 regions, with 11 of them hosting matches and 25 where training camps were situated.
First of all, I would like to note the impeccable implementation of the 11 government guarantees that provided for the preparation and organisation of the World Cup as well as the special law adopted in 2013 that made this implementation possible. Legislative support of such large events has proved its value; I propose continuing the practice of these special legal regulations, including during the UEFA European Championship that you have already mentioned, Mr President, and the match we will host in 2020.
Speaking about the results of the World Cup, I would like to note the successful implementation of the federal and regional programmes on preparations. The joint work by government bodies at all levels as well as public and commercial organisations allowed us to hold over 600 events in total in Russia, including building or reconstructing over 100 sports facilities. Besides some fine points, the FIFA representatives praised the high level of the comprehensive preparations many times.
In addition, airports, roads, utility networks, energy supply systems, healthcare and hotels were built or upgraded. Extensive work was done to improve all the cities. All of this directly concerns 70 percent of our citizens: this is the number of people living in the area where the World Cup was held, and this is the legacy that should, and definitely will, give an additional major boost to regional development.
I would like to note separately the high quality of the transport strategy and to highlight the Russian Transport Ministry’s overall contribution to the preparations. In particular, 21 airports were used, ten were renovated and one, in Rostov-on-Don, was built especially for the World Cup. They managed to serve 16 million passengers.
We also saw success with the railway system as 734 trains, free for fans, ran between the host cities. They were part of the government’s guarantees and they carried around 320,000 fans. Also the communications and IT programmes were implemented as part of the government’s guarantees. A high level of service was organised for television broadcasters in 17 Russian regions with 261 television companies broadcasting to 219 countries; a fixed mobile telephone service and Wi-Fi were available in all these areas.
Finally, it is important to note that unprecedented security measures were taken for the World Cup which made it possible to ensure a comfortable and safe stay for foreign and Russian citizens. This included careful work by law enforcement agencies, the special services and the FAN ID system that you mentioned, Mr President, which we would definitely like to continue to develop; we will develop and promote it. In this regard we ask you to give the instruction to introduce the fan identification system and the access control database system for the national football championship matches.
Regarding the visa regime update for FAN IDs, this decision may indeed become one of the key legacies of the World Cup. We should not miss this opportunity to maintain the positive attitude of the millions of people who attended the World Cup.
Another important point. The World Cup clearly demonstrated a very high level of football around the world which makes the performance of the Russian national team worthy of note as well as the significant work of the coaches and the service team. The national team under Stanislav Cherchesov advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time in modern history. The last time the team did this was back in 1970, which is almost half a century ago.
The training of our players started immediately after the UEFA Euro 2016 tournament in France. A schedule was approved and the necessary conditions were created for training sessions and preparations. The coaching staff and Mr Cherchesov did everything they could to select the best squad: various combinations were tested during friendly matches and in the Confederations Cup, and apparently the right choice was made. According to many Russian and international analysts, the Russian team was one of the discoveries of the World Cup. I would also like to thank the fans who gave such great support to our football players and became part of one team.
The sports heritage is undoubtedly one of the main results of the championship. In addition to 12 modern football stadiums built in compliance with the international standards and FIFA requirements, we have got 95 modernised football training grounds. We from our side will do everything to make full use of them and not let these remarkable facilities turn to monuments to the World Cup, which, unfortunately, happens only too often.
Mr President, I reported on the development of the World Cup heritage concept in May. As of today, it has been agreed upon and submitted to the Government.
The parameters for resource provision in 2019–2023 have been set, and we are ready to implement them. The first step to use the World Cup sports facilities effectively is to determine the proprietors of the stadiums and the main ways to use them. The management models and financing sources for Luzhniki, Spartak, Kazan Arena, Fisht and St Petersburg stadiums have already been found, and the managing companies have been established.
We still have to do the same regarding the arenas in Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Yekaterinburg, Kaliningrad, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara and Saransk (the newly-built ones). The concept envisages their transfer from the property of the Russian Federation to the property of the regions.
The basic number of domestic matches held as part of the Russian Championship and Premiere League has also been set: 16 matches for the Russian Premiere League and 20 for the Russian Professional Football League and the Football National League. Moreover, the first club matches are already being played, and one of the first tour matches of the Football National League was held at Mordovia Arena on July 17. On July 27, Nizhny Novgorod will host the Russian Super Cup. Lokomotiv will play CSKA for the trophy. By the way, the tickets were sold out on the first day of sale, which is also an effect of the World Cup.
On July 28, the Premiere League teams will begin their quest for gold in the Russian Cup at new arenas. And finally, our national team will play Sweden in Kaliningrad on October 11 and Turkey at Fisht Stadium in Sochi on October 14 as part of the new tournament, the UEFA Nations League, which you have already mentioned.
In addition to the main purpose, the concept envisages the multipurpose use of stadiums to hold cultural, sporting and entertainment events. We plan to open football museums dedicated to the history of Russian football and the FIFA World Cup in Russia at the stadiums. The arenas will also host children’s sports schools and football associations.
Upgraded athletic grounds will be assigned to children's sports schools, football clubs and organisations. They can be used for sports other than football. All of that is directly related to the instruction to create children's football centres, which will be able to use the World Cup legacy sites. As of today, it was decided to open 30 such centres at existing children's schools. This will make it possible to increase the number of children involved in sports and recreational fitness by 50 percent starting the age of six, not eight as before.
To reiterate, we have every reason to expect a major influx of rising athletes inspired by the World Cup, and are ready to provide them with all the amenities for training. We have a tremendous amount of work to do in order to increase the number of people who regularly engage in physical fitness and sports. We will need to develop an incentive system for different population groups. One of them could be providing social tax deductions to taxpayers for physical fitness and sports services provided to them.
Mr President, we have drafted proposals to be included in the list of directives and want you to support them. We agreed them with everyone.
Vladimir Putin: On how many athletic facilities will we need to get started with concrete positive work? I am talking about large and possibly smaller stadiums.
Pavel Kolobkov: About 12 stadiums and 95 newly built football pitches which were the teams' bases and which we took during the World Cup, and are now returning to the existing children's sports schools. That includes newly built grounds and the grounds that were owned by children's sports schools for football, track and field, and various …
Vladimir Putin: Do you know what I would like you to do? I want you to show me a plan for using each site. It is fine if you are transferring them. If you use them for some activities, then show me which activities in particular, when, who is the owner, as you said, and so on.
Pavel Kolobkov: Will do.
Vladimir Putin: It should be all very specific: not just a general statement which will end with lots of stakeholders who are interested in opening markets there. What we need are sports sites.
Pavel Kolobkov: We will definitely do that. We are now holding seminars with the future owners of stadiums, to whom we will transfer them. Our working groups will develop business plans for each stadium, and this will be one of the prerequisites for transferring subsidies for operating the stadiums in the coming years.
Vladimir Putin: Yes, of course, they need help to make this work effective.
Pavel Kolobkov: Yes, Mr President.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.
Vladimir Putin: I would like to say in conclusion thatthis project was a success. We should not treat it as the completion of something, but rather the beginning of something new and large-scale, for which we have the experience, capacity and need. The main thing is to continue to act in the same spirit for a long time to come.
As for football, I have already mentioned this but I want to repeat it: serious matches are coming up soon. The first tournament of the UEFA Nations League will take place from September 2018 until June 2019 (it is common knowledge, actually). It will be held once every two years. Let me draw your attention to how it will be organised. The teams will be distributed in four leagues, A, B, C and D depending on their level and ability. According to the rating, the Russian national team got into group B. According to the results of the draw, the Russian team’s rivals are the Swedish and Turkish national teams, while our rivals in the centralised friendly matches, which will be sponsored by UEFA now, are the teams of the Czech Republic and Germany. These are really major matches.
Now the qualifying tournament for the UEFA European Championship. Let me remind you, the draw to determine the make-up of the entry list will take place in Dublin on December 2, 2018, qualifying matches will take place from March 21 until November 19, 2019, and the final stage UEFA-Euro 2020 will be held in 12 European cities, St Petersburg included, from June 12 until July 12, 2020. We have plenty to do when it comes to football.
Certainly, everything we mentioned today in addition to football and even what we did not mention, representatives of various sports are here today and we will do everything together and work together. Following today’s meeting we will draft a list of relevant instructions.
Thank you all very much.