With the sensational soccer, magical atmospheres and endless entertainment options of Russia’s 2018 World Cup host cities, fans will be having such a great time, they won’t even want to sleep! Which is lucky, because they might not be able to find a hotel bed.
Thanks to its faltering economy, Russia’s reportedly down-scaling or abandoning dozens of hotel projects, meaning there’ll be fewer beds available in some of the smaller host cities, likely creating a shortage that will push prices up.
That said, many of the projects are for luxury hotels, so FIFA officials and corporate freeloaders are most likely to be affected by this. So let’s not shed too many tears if they have to stay in the Holiday Inn instead of the Intercontinental.
This might actually be the best way to grow support within FIFA for getting the tournament moved. Gay rights? Meh. Invading Crimea? So what. But when you start messing with FIFA execs’ beloved luxury hotels… now you’re going too far.
“We have agreed with FIFA that we will be following its minimal requirements concerning each region’s accommodation of national teams, referee squads, the so-called representatives of FIFA family, FIFA guests, accredited journalists and so on,” said Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko. “We do not need fashionable hotels, constructed to FIFA’s highest requirements to stay empty after the championship.”
This isn’t actually a bad thing. Considering how bloated and costly staging the World Cup has gotten for host countries, not being left with a herd of white elephants seems wise. Being realistic about what’s affordable and desirable can only be good, even if it’s a global economic downturn that’s brought about this climate of sanity, rather than any common-sense edict from FIFA. The economic benefits of hosting major sports tournaments always get blown way out of proportion amid the hype and excitement of the bidding process.
Of course, there’s still the great unknown: Russian builders. The Sochi Olympics cost tens of billions and the toilets were still dodgy.