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What Was The Legacy Of The 2018 World Cup?

Before being awarded the hosting rights for the showpiece event of the football calendar, Leonid Slutsky revealed that the country doesn’t connect with the sport. He was backed up by the numbers in 2016, with declining attendances for the country’s biggest clubs such as CSKA Moscow and Spartak Moscow.

However, fast forward three years and those comments look almost laughable, as the success of the 2018 World Cup was overwhelming. The sport now dominates front pages, while the Russian hero at the tournament – Artem Dzyuba – has become a cultural hero among locals. But what signs have we seen nearly a year after the start of the 2018 World Cup, which shows that the event has had a lasting event on the country?

Russia World Cup 2018

Credit: CN Traveller

Increased Attendances

The arenas were the reason that over $14 billion was spent for the event. The question how these stadiums are used after events are always asked; no matter whether the stadia are built for the Olympic Games or World Cup; the life of the stadium needs to exist far beyond just the featured tournament.

There have been a few early successes on this front in Russia; mainly the stadium in Rostov, St Petersburg and Moscow. All three stadiums are sustaining high figures in the Russian Super League, while the overall attendance in the division is the highest it has been for ten years.

The new-found level of interest in the sport was highlighted when 80,000 Russian fans packed into the Luzhniki Stadium to watch a surprising win for CSKA Moscow over Real Madrid in the Champions League group stages. This interest has also reached the second tier, with Rotor Volgograd attracting over 20,000 fans for the majority of their home fixtures. The increased popularity is much like the increased popularity of online casinos; it is only increasing further over time.

Breaking Stereotypes

There was a lot of questions lingering before the tournament kicked off within the British media; with the safety of visitors called into question. However, this was nonsense, and within a week of the competition starting there was a feel-good factor that was as welcome as it was unexpected.

Russian people enjoyed seeing people from all around the world taking in their traditions and socialising. They felt less isolated and enjoyed tourists coming to the country. It was a roaring success economically with millions spent in bars, restaurants and bars.

Since the tournament, the government have announced new plans to further welcome tourists to see their country. There was a 10% rise in the number of people visiting the state also. The introduction of Fan Visas for the tournament was a genius concept, and that ensured that everybody who wanted to visit Russia got the chance to do so.

Increased Participation

It was announced in January 2019 that FIFA would allocate $60 million to Russia for the continued growth in the sport following the World Cup. The country has stated that these funds will be assigned to sustaining the sport by putting the money into grassroots levels of the women’s and children’s games.

This is a significant development for the country as women who played the sport before the tournament were not respected. Nowadays the money that has been developed from the World Cup is expanding the number of players that can play the game.

The money that has been granted is likely to play a crucial role in the game, as they look to qualify for their first World Cup since 2003. A women’s edition of the competition could one day head to Russia to increase the popularity further, just like it did with the men’s game.

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