This website use cookies and similar technologies to improve the site and to provide customised content and advertising. By using this site, you agree to this use. To learn more, including how to change your cookie settings, please view our Cookie Policy
Xmas Legs Small Present Present
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
AU
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
   You are currently viewing the Australia version of the site.
Would you like to switch to your local site?
Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 15th June 2018 > KICK BAIT

KICK BAIT

RUSSIA hopes the World Cup will help improve its international image. The Kremlin’s ENEMIES may have other plans
FRANCOIS XAVIER MARIT/AFP/GETTY
ON THE BALL In hosting the World Cup, Putin is hoping to replicate the success of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia. Here, the Russian president plays soccer with Infantino. Opposite page, Germany’s players celebrate after winning the 2014 World Cup.
ALEXEI DRUZHININ/TASS/GETTY

VLADIMIR PUTIN KEPT A WATCHFUL EYE ON A black-and-white soccer ball as it soared toward him through a spacious Kremlin office, before he deftly bumped it back with his head. On the other side of the room, Gianni Infantino, the president of FIFA, soccer’s international governing body, waited for the return pass. When it came, he flicked the ball up, juggling it from foot to foot before kicking it back to the Russian president. The two men, both dressed in suits and ties, were taking part in a promotional video for this summer’s World Cup, which Russia will host for the first time.

In May, just weeks after the filming of the video, Putin and Infantino met again, this time in Sochi, on Russia’s Black Sea coastline, where they inspected the Fisht Olympic Stadium. The 48,000-seat arena is one of a dozen that Russia has either built or revamped for the tournament, which runs June 14 to July 15 and takes place in 11 cities. The government has spent an estimated $19 billion on the tournament, making it one of the most expensive World Cups ever.

This massive spending isn’t because Putin is a huge soccer fan; he isn’t particularly interested in it. Instead, some say, he hopes to use the World Cup to improve Russia’s international image. That’s a difficult task, especially after the Kremlin has been accused of war crimes in Syria and Ukraine, spy poisonings in Britain and election meddling in the United States and other Western countries. But Putin couldn’t have chosen a better platform to spread his message: The tournament is the world’s most-watched sporting event.

READ MORE
Purchase options below
Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Newsweek International - 15th June 2018
If you own the issue, Login to read the full article now.
Single Issue - 15th June 2018
$7.99
Or 799 points
Annual Digital Subscription
Only $ 1.04 per issue
SAVE
87%
$52.99
Or 5299 points
Monthly Digital Subscription
Only $ 1.41 per issue
SAVE
81%
$5.99
Or 599 points

View Issues

About Newsweek International

WILL RUSSIA'S WORLD CUP GAMBIT PAY OFF? Vladimir Putin kept a watchful eye on a black-and-white soccer ball as it soared toward him through a spacious Kremlin office, before he deftly bumped it back with his head. On the other side of the room, Gianni Infantino, the president of FIFA, soccer’s international governing body, waited for the return pass. When it came, he flicked the ball up, juggling it from foot to foot before kicking it back to the Russian president. The two men, both dressed in suits and ties, were taking part in a promotional video for this summer’s World Cup, which Russia will host for the first time. Russia hopes the World Cup will help improve its international image. The Kremlin’s enemies may have other plans.