The World Cup has kicked off, with some of the highlights so far including a Messi penalty miss, a spectacular hat trick from an ageless Ronaldo, the first penalty given in World Cup history via VAR, and Iran’s win over Morocco who failed in their 2026 bid to host the tournament.
Costs of the Tournament
*Note. All costs are given in Dollars for the benefit of world wide readers.
At an estimated cost of over $14.2 billion, it is the most expensive World Cup in history. Surpassing the cost of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. A total of 64 matches will be played in 12 venues located in 11 cities. The final will take place on 15 July at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, The actual costs of the tournament itself will now cost the Russian government 39.2 billion rubles ($587 million).
Infrastructure spending resulted in Airports being upgraded, new hotels built and the national transport system expanded to accommodate the estimated one million plus fans expected to attend the 64 games in 11 host cities across the Russian Federation the first ever World Cup to be held in Eastern Europe.
Free Transport Controversy
There is however some controversy over claims made by fans that the free transport offered by FIFA to transport fans to stadiums isn’t there. Alexey Sorokin, CEO of 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Local Organising Committee said that:
“Free public transport services are being offered for ticketholders during the World Cup, including additional trains linking between host cities.”
Richy Sheehy currently at the World Cup said exclusively in an interview to The Anfield Talk on the lack of free transport as promised,
“It’s happening everywhere (the lack of free transport), FIFA put on a piss poor amount of free trains and they were all booked up ages ago. Absolute rubbish, I expect nothing less from FIFA.”
“We went to the main station, had a 3 hour wait in the FIFA queue, with 3 places left on 1 train from Moscow. We had to pay St Pete’s – Moscow and get our own way back from Nizhny. I started 5th in the queue, they say the FIFA systems are ridiculously slow, and the online system shows no availability.”
728 additional trains were to be laid on to transport spectators between 11 host cities.
At time of writing this The Anfield Talk has been in contact with the Russian Organising Committee for clarification on the matter.
There were 12 stadiums chosen for the tournament in 11 cities. The most notable one obviously being the Luzhniki Stadium with a capacity of 81,000, which was renovated at a cost of $350 million between 2013 – 2017. It’s mainly used as one of the home grounds of the Russian national football team and will host the World Cup Final on July 15th.
Other stadiums of notable interests include the Saint Petersburg Stadium with a capacity of 68,000 specifically for the World Cup. Completed in April 2017, however overall costs soared past $1 billion, which makes it one of the most expensive stadiums ever built surpassing, for example, venues such as the Emirates Stadium in London ($470 million) and the Allianz Arena in Munich ($380 million). It also has a retractable roof.
Spartak Stadium Moscow is the home of Russia’s most successful club, Spartak Moscow with a capacity of 42,000. Built in 2014, at a cost of $430 million, the venue will be known as the Spartak Stadium during the tournament. Sochi Fisht Stadium is a 48,000 capacity stadium, constructed for the 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, where it served as the venue for their opening and closing ceremonies.
Stadiums of interest to the traveling England fans are the Volgograd Arena a brand new stadium. Here England played Tunisia on June 18th. Stadium costs were at $280 million, and has seating capacity for 45,000. Next up is England v Panama on June 24th at the 44,900 capacity Nizhny Novgorod stadium built at a cost of $290 million. Finally it’s England v Belgium June 28th at the Kaliningrad Stadium. Completed only three months ago at a cost of $300 million with a capacity of over 35,000.
Big money, big stadiums, a major tournament to be watched by an estimated 3.4 billion people breaking many all time records it’s nearly half the total world population of 7.6 billion, for the entire tournament. With the eyes of the world on Russia, President Vladimir Putin said,
“First of all, we need to show that Russia is an open country, that it is open to the whole world,” he said. “People will understand what Russia is when they come here. There are still a lot of stereotypes left over from the past. But the more contacts we establish, the faster these stereotypes will dissipate.”