The FIFA World cup 2018 will be the 21st FIFA World cup. It is a quadrennial international football tournament contest which was held by the men’s national teams of the member associations of FIFA. It was planned to be held in Russia. It took place from 14 June to 15 July 2018, after 2 December 2010. It was the first World cup which was held in Europe since the tournament of 2006 in Germany, and the first game held in Eastern Europe.
There were involvement of 32 national teams in the final tournament. It includes 31 teams which are determined through qualifying competitions and the host team which is automatically qualified. Among the 32 teams, 20 made a back-to-back appearance following the last tournament in 2014, which also included the defending champions Germany, while Iceland and Panama also were taking their first participation at a FIFA world cup.
In Total, 64 matches were played in 12 stadiums in 11 cities. The final tournament took place at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow on 15 July.
The pot placement of each national team was determined. The team which was ranked highest were placed in Pot 1, the second-highest team was placed on Pot 2, and the third-highest ranked team was placed on Pot 3, and so on. As a host nation, Russia will automatically be placed on a pot 1.
The teams who qualified for the World cup are Germany, Belgium, England, Spain, and Brazil, while Italy, Chile and the United States faced a problem and failed to make a spot in Russia.
The Fédération Internationale DE Football Association (FIFA) had done the bidding process of the FIFA World cups for 2018 and 2022 and also selected the location for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World cups. Officially the process started in March 2009. From 13 countries, 11 bids were received, including one which had been withdrawn and one which was refused before FIFA’s executive committee voted in November 2010.
Among nine bids, two of the remaining applied only for the World cup of 2022, while the rest of them initially applied for both. Among the ways of bidding, all the bids of non-European for the 2018 event were withdrawn. It resulted in a barring of all the European bids from thought for the 2022 edition. By the time of selection, England, Russia, a joint bid from Belgium and Netherlands, and a joint bid from Portugal and Spain were included for the World cup of 2018. Bids for the World cup of 2022 came from Japan, Qatar, Australia, South Korea and the United States but the bid of Indonesia was disqualified because of the lack of support of the government. Mexico also withdrew its bid because of its financial reasons.
Russia and Qatar were selected as the locations for the FIFA world cup respectively for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World cup, on 2 December 2010. Several disagreements were involved in the bidding process. Two members of the FIFA Executive Committee had their voting rights excluded following allegations that ‘in exchange for votes they will accept money’.
Firstly, every team named a squad of 35 players. The final squad of 23 players were named by the team (three of whom must be goalkeepers) by the FIFA deadline from the preliminary squad. In case any of the players were injured during the tournament then the players could replace up to 24 hours prior to kickoff of the first match of the team, where the replaced player does not need to be in a squad.
The players whose name is in the preliminary squad of 35 players, there was a compulsory rest period between 21 and 27 May 2018, excluding those who were involved in the Final Champions League UEFA 2018 played on 26 May.
At first, the squads were to have 30 players only. But in February 2018, it was notified that the number of the players to be named in the provisional squads would be changed to 35.
The cities which are targeted by the Russia are: Kazan, Krasnodar, Rostov-on-Don, Moscow, Kaliningrad, Saint, Petersburg, Samara, Saransk, Sochi, Nizhny Novgorod, Volgograd, Yaroslavl and Yekaterinburg. All of these cities are in European Russia or just outside European Russia. These places are in the same territory. This helps to reduce the time of traveling for the team in the huge country.
The bid ranking report said, “The Russian bid declared 13 main cities and 16 stadiums, thus exceeding the minimum requirement of FIFA. Among 16 stadiums, 3 were repaired and the other 13 were constructed.”
In October 2011, Russia reduced the number of stadiums from 16 to 14. The stadium which was being constructed in the Moscow region was stopped by the government of that region. With a Dynamo Stadium Otkrytiya, Arena was completed over which would be constructed first.
On 29 September 2012, the final notice of the host cities was announced. The number of cities was decreased to 11 from 13 and the number of stadiums was reduced to 12. Yaroslavl and Krasnodar were dropped from the final list of the host cities. Out of the 12 stadiums, Luzhniki, Yekaterinburg and Sochi are totally repaired and other 9 stadiums are brand new. Almost $11.9 billion has been used for hosting a tournament.
In July 2014, Sepp Blatter stated that the number of the stadiums may decrease from 12 to 10 because of the concerns over the completion of stadiums in Russia.
In October 2014, the inspection committee of FIFA and its head Chris Unger visited St Petersburg, Kazan, Sochi and both Moscow stadiums on their first official visit to Russia. They were very satisfied by seeing the progress of the stadium.
On 8 October 2015, the Local Organizing Committee and FIFA were satisfied with the official names of the stadiums which will be used during the tournaments.
Out of 12 stadiums which are in process to be used in the World cup, the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow and the Saint Petersburg stadium will be used most. It is because these two stadiums are the largest among all the stadiums. 7 matches will be played at each of these stadiums. In Kazan, Sochi, Samara and Nizhny Novgorod, 6 matches will be held including one quarter-final match apiece. In the Otkritie Stadium in Moscow and Rostov-on-Don, 5 matches will be held including one match of 16 matches each. In Kaliningrad, Saransk, Yekaterinburg and Volgograd, 4 matches in each will be held and will host any games of a knockout stage.
In March 2018, ISIS gave a threat that they made a bomb blast in a stadium through drones. The situation came to control when the ISIS members posted video clips and photos on an encrypted app, Telegram. But the original threat started in October 2017, when a page posted a picture of a star of Argentina, Lionel Messi. In the picture Lionel Messi was in a jail cell with blood in his face and a mockup of Nike’s slogan “Just do it” was replaced with “Just Terrorism”.
As with the Winter Olympics of 2014, there is a challenge for the choice of Russia as a host. In Russian football, controversial issues include the level of racism. It also includes discrimination against LGBT people in a society of a Wider Russia. Involvement of Russia in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine had also made a necessity for the tournament to be moved, especially following the appropriation of Crimea. In 2014, Sepp Blatter, FIFA president stated that “The World cup was given and voted to Russia and we were going ahead with our work.
Assertion of fraud in the processes of bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World cups caused threats from FA of England to avoid a tournament. For investigating and producing a report on the corruption allegations, FIFA appointed Michael J. Garcia, a US attorney.
Even though the report was not published ever, FIFA marketed a summary of 42 pages in which there were written the findings as determined by German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert. The summary of Eckert cleared any of the wrongdoing of Qatar and Russia but it was criticized by the critics as a whitewash.
On 3 June 2015, confirmation was done by the FBI that the federal experts were investigating the awarding processes and bidding for the world cup of 2018 and 2022. In an published interview on 7 June 2015, head of the
FIFA’s Audit and Compliance Committee, Domenico Scala said, “there should be proof for saying that the award to Qatar and Russia came only because of the votes which were brought. If the proof is provided then the award could be canceled.”FIFA vice-president Chung Mong-joon, Duke of Cambridge, Prince William and former British Prime Minister David Cameron organized a meeting. In the meeting a deal of vote-trading for the right to host in the world cup of 2018 was discussed.
Because of the financial crisis in the economy of Russia, in June 2015, a government command cut the budget to a total of $11.8 billion by $560 million. Few times the budget for the preparation was cut but in 2017 it was again raised to $11.8 billion by $600 million.