World Cup 2018 Facts

It will take moooonths before the 2018 World Cup kick-off takes place, on June 14 to be exact. The Final will be played on July 15. The world will be a very different place when the tournament is about to commence! But still, the 2018 World Cup qualifications have already started in March 2015!  Yes, the 2014 World Cup may be over, but the 2018 World Cup hosted in Russia is in full preparation, let’s not even mention the 2022 World Cup which is discussed even more….But although it does seem unlikely, it is really Russia that will host the tournament first, and not Qatar. We mentioned many facts about the 2014 World Cup on, so now we continue with the facts of the 2018 edition! Of course, this page will be updated until at least the 2018 World Cup is in play, so stay tuned for many new facts to come! So let’s start, did you know:

5 Other European Countries Placed a Bid for Hosting Rights

After Brazil was chosen as the 2014 World Cup host, FIFA dropped its rotation policy which was introduced in 2004. This policy meant the World cup would be rotated to each confederation (continent) in turn. After the drop in October 2007 a new policy made its introduction. Any country was now able to place a bid, with the only criterion that their continental confederation has not hosted either of the past 2 World Cups. This for example means that any European country is unable to place a bid for both the 2022 World Cup and 2026 World Cup since European country Russia will host the 2018 World Cup. The first World Cup an European country can place a bid for, is the 2030 World Cup.

For the 2018 World Cup, bids from both Africa and South America were not allowed. This because Africa hosted the 2010 World Cup and Brazil the 2014 World Cup. Only European countries placed a bid for the 2018 World Cup.

FIFA changed another policy. After the 2002 World Cup which was hosted in 2 countries, FIFA banned joint bids. In 2007 they were once more allowed, as long as there would be 1 Organizing Committee rather than 2, which was the case with 2002 World Cup hosts Japan and South Korea.

The following European countries placed a bid:

  • Belgium/Netherlands
  • England
  • Spain/Portugal
  • Russia

2 voting rounds were needed in order to choose a winner. In the 2nd round England received 0 votes, Netherlands/ Belgium 2 votes, Spain/Portugal 7 votes and Russia 13 votes. In December 2010 the FIFA Executive Committee announced Russia will host the 21st World Cup in 2018.

2018 World Cup facts

Russian bid personnel celebrating Russia to be the 2018 World Cup host, with Russian player Andrey Arshavin holding the card stating the host winner

This decision is considered controversial, together with the decision of Qatar hosting the 2022 World Cup. England stated corruption is involved and claimed they have been lied to since several members from the FIFA Executive Committee promised their vote would go to England.

It will not only be the first time Russia will host a World Cup, but it will also be the first time a World Cup will take place in Eastern Europe. Russia will be the biggest host country geographically in World Cup history.

This is the First World Cup Since 2006 to be Hosted in Europe

Yes, it took 12 years before we can witness a World Cup in Europe again! The last European country that hosted the World Cup was Germany in 2006, which Italy won. The reason why it takes so long, is because FIFA likes to rotate hosting rights amongst continents. Since 2006 the World Cup was hosted in Africa (2010) and South America (2014). Before 2006 the World Cup was hosted in Asia (2002).

11 Host Cities Will be Used Instead of the Initial Amount of 13

Initially in 2010, Russia wanted to use 16 stadiums and 13 host cities, more than the 14 stadiums used in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. All 16 host cities are located in or close to the part called European Russia, the West side of the country. This way teams don’t need to travel long distances, as the country is super huge! However the number of stadiums got decreased from 16 to 14 in October 2011. The Podolsk stadium and VTB Arena both located in Moscow got deleted from the list.

On September 28 2012, the final numbers were announced. The 2018 World Cup will contain 11 host cities and 12 stadiums. The cities Krasnodar and Yaroslavl  and their respective stadiums were dropped from the list. Many of these stadiums will be constructed especially for World Cup 2018 and others will be renovated in order to meet FIFA’s requirements.

2018 world cup facts

The following host cities will be used for the 2018 World Cup:

The 2018 World Cup Final Will be Played in Moscow, the Luzhniki Stadium

On march 20 2014 FIFA revealed the first details about which 2018 World Cup matches will be played where. 5 matches already have their host city and stadiums assigned to them. To start with the Final on July 15. This legendary match will be played in Moscow, the Luzhniki stadium. Moscow is pretty much a logical decision as host city. The Luzhniki stadium was an easy guess as well, since it has almost more than 2 times the capacity (81000) in comparison with the other 2018 World Cup stadium in Moscow, the Otkrytie Arena (44000).

The other matches which already have their host city and stadium are the opening match, the match for the third place and both semi-finals. It is the Luzhniki stadium that will host both the opening match on June 14 and the second semi-final on July 11. The Zenit arena in Saint Petersburg will host the first semi-final on July 10 and the third place match on July 14.

Other stadiums that will be used are (stadium names can change):

  1. Luzhniki Stadium – Moscow
  2. Otkrytie Arena- Moscow
  3. Zenit Arena – Saint Petersburg
  4. Kazan Arena – Kazan
  5. Cosmos Arena – Samara
  6. Yubileyniy Stadium – Saransk
  7. Levberdon Arena – Rostov-on-Don
  8. Fisht Olympic Stadium – Sochi
  9. Central Stadium – Yekaterinburg
  10. Central Stadium – Volgograd
  11. Strelka Stadium – Nizhny Novgorod
  12. Kaliningrad Stadium – Kaliningrad

The 2018 World Cup Logo was Unveiled on October 28 2014 by Cosmonauts at the International Space Station

On October 28 2014, the 2018 World Cup logo was finally revealed, in space! Cosmonauts at the International Space Station counted down and showed the logo, which then got projected onto Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. This was done in the Russian Evening Urgant television talk show which was attended by FIFA president Sepp Blatter, Italian football legend Fabio Cannavaro and Russia’s sports minister Vitaly Mutko.

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said that the logo was inspired by “Russia’s rich artistic tradition and its history of bold achievement and innovation”. FIFA President Sepp Blatter stated that it reflected the “heart and soul” of the country.


The 2018 World Cup Qualifications Started on March 12 2015

The 2014 World Cup Final wasn’t one year away yet or the 2018 World Cup Qualifications already kicked-off! There are 31 spots available since Russia already qualified automatically as hosts of the tournament. For the first time ever, all 208 FIFA members (excluding Russia) registered for the 2018 World Cup qualifications. The very first qualification match was between 2 AFC members on March 12: Timor-Leste against Mongolia which ended in 4-1 for Timor-Leste. Timorese player Chiquito do Carmo scored the very first goal of the 2018 World Cup qualifications. While the AFC confederation kicked-off the qualifications in March, the UEFA confederation will start their 2018 World Cup qualifications in September 2016, after the European Championship of that year. Find out how teams perform in the 2018 World Cup qualification process!

2018 World Cup qualification kick off dates of each confederation are:

ConfederationTeamsQualifiedEliminatedWC spotsStartEnd
AFC4664 or 512 March 201510 October 2017
CONCACAF353 or 423 March 201510 October 2017
OFC110 or 131 August 2015November 2017
CONMEBOL1074 or 55 October 20152017
CAF54155 October 20152017
UEFA53114September 2016November 2017

FIFA Requires Passports for all Players Before World Cup Qualifiers

During the 2014 World Cup qualifications there were a few cases of ineligible players. 7 different African teams fielded players who did not have valid clearance, forcing FIFA to award 3-0 wins to their opponents. The penalised CAF teams were Burkina Faso, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Liberia, Sudan and Togo. Such issues only happened with CAF teams. Therefore for the 2018 Worp Cup qualifications, players must produce a valid passport 24 hours before kick-off to reduce eligibility infringements. Identity cards or other supporting official documents shall not be accepted.

Abandoned World Cup Qualifiers Will Be Restarted From the Point the Clock Stopped as Part of Revised FIFA Rules

Aside the passport rule as described above, FIFA introduced more changes when it comes to the 2018 World Cup qualifiers:

  • FIFA now requires matches abandoned during play to be restarted at a later date with the same lineups from the point the clock stopped. Previously, a full 90-minute replay was necessary.
  • FIFA abolished the maximum fine limit of 1m Swiss francs (£700,000, $1.09 million) for federations if a team that qualifies to play in Russia is withdrawn within 30 days of the opening match or during the tournament.
  • Goal-line technology can be used in qualifying matches, if both teams give written consent.
  • Cooling breaks can be ordered by referees in the qualification matches.
  • A ban on smoking in the dugout and technical area has been extended to the dressing room.
  • Coaches’ obligations to speak with media before and after matches are set out.
  • The venue of the match shall have sufficient high-standard hotels to accommodate the home team, the visiting team and the FIFA delegation.
  • Opposing teams are now prohibited from staying at the same hotel as each other or the official FIFA delegation.

All details can be found in FIFA’s complete regulations document.

FIFA Will Use System to Monitor Racism and Discrimination

During the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, FIFA will introduce a system of match observes who will monitor incidents of racism and discrimination. The observers will be trained to spot incidents of discrimination and report them to FIFA, which can then impose disciplinary sanctions on the countries involved. The project is recommended by the FIFA anti-discrimination taskforce and is being implemented in collaboration with the European anti-discrimination body Fare.

Host country Russia that is criticized a lot when it comes such issues, is also tackling racism in football. Some 200 racist incidents were committed by Russian fans between 2012 and 2014 according to a report by the Sova Center, a Moscow-based racism-monitoring group.

FIFA Expelled Zimbabwe From Qualifying

On the very first date of the 2018 World Cup qualifications March 12 2015, a team already got expelled by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee from the qualification process. It was CAF member Zimbabwe that never played in a World Cup before. The Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) failed to pay former coach José Claudinei a severance fee within the periods granted by FIFA. You would expect a more shocking reason for FIFA to expel a nation from the World Cup qualifications! Zimbabwe Football Association said they would appeal but it doesn’t look good. When FIFA announces a decision, it’s pretty much irreversible.

AFC Banned Indonesia From 2018 World Cup Qualifiers

After Zimbabwe, another country got banned from the 2018 World Cup qualifiers. On June 3 2015 The Asian Football Confederation confirmed Indonesia’s immediate ban from all international football, including the 2018 World Cup qualifiers. The reason is the government’s meddling in the country’s domestic league. Indonesia was banned after the country’s Sports and Youth Ministry cancelled the domestic football season because of a row over which teams are eligible to compete in the Indonesian Super League (ISL). FIFA doesn’t like when the government interferes with football affairs. AFC stated that the ban on Indonesian national and club teams would also extend to a range of other tournaments.

As long as the PSSI is suspended, Indonesian football will also not be able benefit from any AFC and FIFA development programmes,” the AFC said in a statement.

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