MOSCOW, November 29. /TASS/. Former defender of French national football team Marcel Desailly and Russia’s former national striker Alexander Kerzhakov were named on Wednesday the ambassadors of the Fan Fest program of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
FIFA Director of Marketing Services Jean-Francois Pathy said at the presentation ceremony of the ambassadors that FIFA expected about five million people at the Fan Fest zones in all of 11 hosting cities across Russia.
The Fan Fest "became the core part of the celebrations of the World Cup and the great way to interact with fans and offer a platform for everyone to have fun," Pathy said. "We had a successful launch of this program in Germany (in 2006) and had similar success in South Africa (in 2010) and in Brazil (in 2014)."
"All of these three World Cups engaged 30 million people at the Fan Fests and at the 2018 FIFA World Cup we expect at least five million people to be at the Fan Fest," the FIFA official added.
FIFA World Cups are held once in four years and the demand for tickets to see matches of the world’s best national teams often exceeds the supply.
However, football fans both from all over the world will still be able to feel the FIFA atmosphere in Russia if they miss a chance buying match tickets to see the games at stadiums, because they will be offered to see matches at places called FIFA Fan Fest.
The FIFA Fan Fest is a place outside of a FIFA World Cup stadium to watch FIFA World Cup matches.
According to FIFA, "They will be set up in each of the 11 Host Cities so football fans from all over the world can celebrate together, free of charge, in a truly FIFA World Cup atmosphere.
Desailly, 49, said addressing a news conference in Moscow he was more than glad to serve as an ambassador for the Fan Fest program during the World Cup in Russia.
"It is a pleasure for me to come back to Russia, because I have been here a couple of times," Desailly said. "I am really pleased to see the excitement that Russia has for this World Cup."
In response to a statement made by one of the journalists that ambassadors "will have to work hard at the Fan Fest to satisfy everyone" Desailly said "I can tell you that this is not work for me and this is real pleasure being a part of the Fan Fest Festival."
"I have seen the game as a soccer player and it was my profession," he said. "Now I am out of the game and I am going to enjoy it with people… I really want to share the competition with them, to mingle with them."
Portugal's Ronaldo was the only FIFA ambassador at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and this year the organizers decided to name two ambassadors to promote FIFA Fan Fest in Russia.
After successfully hosting the FIFA Confederations Cup this summer, Russia is now in full-swing preparations to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The country selected 11 host cities to be the venues for the matches of the 2018 World Cup and they are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.
The matches of the 2018 World Cup will be held between June 14 and July 15 at 12 stadiums located in the 11 mentioned above cities across Russia. Two of the stadiums are located in the Russian capital.