Confederations Cup: World Cup host Russia set to come under spotlight

Confederations Cup: World Cup host Russia set to come under spotlight

With a year still to go before the 2018 World Cup begins, it may be that thoughts of next summer’s tournament are far from the front of your mind.

But the Fifa Confederations Cup, which gets under way in Russia on Saturday, might change that – and not just because of the football.

Many of the issues that surround Russia’s hosting of the World Cup are likely to come under the spotlight over the next few weeks, as teams from around the globe compete at Fifa’s test run.

Questions over hooliganism, corruption allegations and claims workers have been abused provide a complex background to the eight-team event.

Even if you think the Confederations Cup is nothing more than a series of glorified friendly matches, there is still a trophy to be won.

But in many respects it is Russia’s success at hosting the World Cup test run that is of most interest.

Last summer, as fans tumbled down the Stade Velodrome slopes in the violent chaos that followed England’s 1-1 draw with Russia at Euro 2016, a Russian MP praised the “patriots” who had “brought honour to their country” in Marseille.

“I don’t see anything terrible about fans fighting. Quite the opposite, the guys did well. Keep it up!” said Igor Lebedev, a member of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia.