SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
Russia has already committed itself to spending billions of dollars on building infrastructure for the Sochi (2014) Winter Games, and is intent on further investment in the near future in other sporting activities. One such example is Russia’s bid for the 2018 World Cup (FIFA).
After the relative disaster in the Vancouver Winter Games this past winter, Medvedev and Putin have called for a radical housecleaning of the Russian sports federations. With billions being invested, Russia demands to be on the podium much more often than it was in Vancouver!
I am covering such sports news coming out of Russia in recent times because I believe that the Kremlin also might have grandiose plans that include the FIDE chess presidency. One of the world’s largest international sports organizations, for the past 2 decades FIDE has been submerged in chaos and moral bankruptcy, and now a Russian born hero (Anatoly Karpov) has put up his candidacy for FIDE president.
By the end of this month the Russian Chess Federation will have to decide whether they support Karpov’s candidacy.
Putin ‘the Engine’ Driving World Cup Bid
22 March 2010
The Associated Press
ZURICH — Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is “the engine” driving forward his country’s bid to host the football World Cup in 2018, Sport, Tourism and Youth Policy Minister Vitaly Mutko said.
Mutko said Putin could help present Russia’s case at FIFA headquarters on Dec. 2 before a vote to decide the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosts.
“He is the engine of this bid,” said Mutko, speaking in an interview after a meeting of FIFA’s ruling executive late last week.
He is one of 24 committee members who will choose the two winning candidates.
Putin is a proven winner in sports politics. His English-speaking part in Sochi’s presentation to International Olympic Committee members three years ago was judged crucial in swinging votes that got the Black Sea resort hosting rights for the 2014 Winter Games.
“He does everything that he can to support our bid,” Mutko said through a translator. “The same is applicable to the president of our country.”
Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev have met FIFA president Sepp Blatter in Moscow in recent months, leading many to consider Russia a favorite in the 2018 contest that is likely to be awarded to Europe.
FIFA insists that all candidates have government support to host the four-yearly event that earns billions of dollars for the game’s governing body and invariably costs billions in infrastructure expenses to stage.
Mutko said Russia’s bid was a national priority.
“The World Cup is a fundamental factor in the development of the country,” he said. “Even if Russia will not win the right to host the World Cup, we will continue to develop sports infrastructure, stadiums and hockey palaces.”
He said state funds would not be overstretched by adding the World Cup to extensive construction projects in Sochi and Kazan, which hosts the 2013 World University Games.
“They are proof to FIFA … that if Russia takes up certain commitments, it fully fulfills them,” Mutko said.
Bid leaders have not put a price on widespread modernization needed in its proposed 14 host cities clustered in five areas of western Russia: northern, southern, central, Volga River and Urals Mountain regions.
Details will be published when Russia and its nine rivals present their bid books to FIFA in Zurich on May 14.
Mutko accepted that the three other European bids — England, Spain-Portugal and Netherlands-Belgium — were ahead with existing stadiums, transportation links and hotels.
But he said Russia offered a greater legacy by developing the sport and opening new markets in the former Soviet republics of Europe and Central Asia.
The World Cup “should go to new regions and open new frontiers,” said Mutko, adding that Russia wanted to make more friends. “We want to show to the world the new Russia, open and hospitable in every sense.”
Russia, Australia, England, Japan, United States, plus the Spain-Portugal and Netherlands-Belgium joint bids, have applied to host either the 2018 or 2022 World Cup. Indonesia, Qatar and South Korea are bidding for 2022 only.