Spectators to receive true pleasure
[b]Fewer than 500 days are left before the kick of 2014 IIHF World Championship in Minsk. How does the capital prepare for this truly grandiose sport forum?[/b]Yevgeny Vorsin, the Chairman of the Belarusian Ice Hockey Federation and the Head of the Directorate for the World Championship, tells us:The IIHF World Championship will take place in May 2014 in the Belarusian capital. This has been firmly decided and this issue isn’t on the agenda anymore. All attempts from the side of influential parapolitical circles to take away the tournament from our country failed. In recent time, from September till December, three inspectional checks of the International Ice Hockey Federation took place in Belarus and none of these discovered any non-fulfilment of obligations, taken by us.
Yevgeny Vorsin, the Chairman of the Belarusian Ice Hockey Federation and the Head of the Directorate for the World Championship, tells us:
The IIHF World Championship will take place in May 2014 in the Belarusian capital. This has been firmly decided and this issue isn’t on the agenda anymore. All attempts from the side of influential parapolitical circles to take away the tournament from our country failed. In recent time, from September till December, three inspectional checks of the International Ice Hockey Federation took place in Belarus and none of these discovered any non-fulfilment of obligations, taken by us. Moreover, the inspectors have assured that our country isn’t just actively preparing for the event but is even outstripping the fulfilment of many positions which regard to the tournament preparation. Major aspects are two ice rinks which will be hosting the World Championship. There are no issues concerning Minsk-Arena while Chizhovka-Arena is in its final stage of construction, with external walls being faced and works being conducted on the preparation of the ice rink. Schemes of placement of all services — technical, medical and doping control — have been envisaged. No mistakes will be made and constant consultations are taking place while everything is being agreed with the Infront Company. As far as the placement of the Championship’s guests is concerned, these will be able to use the services of 14 hotels able to welcome 2,500 people. Over 500 places in hotels have been booked by official figures — teams, personnel and judges. A large number of media representatives is also expected: over 600 journalists and around 140 photo correspondents. The Belarusian quote is up to 50 people. All official figures will have wonderful living conditions, being accommodated in the Crowne Plaza, the Minsk Hotel, the President Hotel, the Victoria Hotel, the National Olympic Committee Headquarters’ hotel while judges will be accommodated in the Garni Hotel. We’ll be able to welcome up to 20,000 at once, while also ensuring them places in the Student Village where we can accommodate 8,800 people, as well as in 11 hostels of higher educational establishments (able to accommodate 9,000) which will be repaired and ready to accept guests.
Everything will be OK: good teams will arrive in Minsk and hockey of perfect quality is guaranteed, with spectators receiving true pleasure.
Does it mean that in 2014 the academic year will finish earlier for students than usual?
We’ll begin to prepare places for tourists in student hostels approximately one month before the kick of the tournament — in mid-April. Accordingly, the academic year is likely to finish by this term, although the final decision on this issue hasn’t been done yet. Probably, the terms will be just shifted to summer months.
Of course, everyone is keen to learn about ticket prices for matches…
First of all, I’d like to note that there will be visa-free entry for everyone wishing to see the World Championship in our country. They will need just to show a ticket — original or electronic — and their passport. The ticket programme has been already approved. As far as the pricing policy is concerned, initially it was planned that tickets for matches will cost from 9 to 40 Euros. Meanwhile, now, the attitude towards this issue is changing. Previously, they said that prices for all matches should be equal. However, at the recent World Championship in Finland the cost of tickets was determined by the rating of the playing teams. We’ll study this experience. Moreover, the formula for the organisation of 2014 World Championship hasn’t been determined either. Now this issue is under discussion and opinions have divided. Some suggest that during the first stage all participants should be divided into two groups with eight teams in each group while others propose to have only four groups with four squads in each group. This problem will be solved only at the IIHF Congress in Sweden in May. From March, we plan to start selling tickets so I don’t exclude that the terms may shift to mid-summer — early autumn. Anyway, I think that we’ll have enough time to provide everyone with tickets.
Won’t Minsk quests feel discomfort because of the language barrier?
No. From January, we plan to start work aiming to attract 850 volunteers. These will be selected very thoroughly while knowing a foreign language is one of the requirements. At present, there’s still an opportunity to catch up one’s knowledge.
Did you analyse the attendance of world championships in the Olympic year? Don’t you have fears that the tournament won’t arouse enhanced interest?
I don’t see any problem here. The figure of 20,000, which was previously mentioned, is the number of tourists which Minsk is able to accept at once. However, around 80,000 fans are expected to arrive. I don’t think that the Olympiad will somehow reduce the interest towards the Championship. According to the official data, the number of tourists increases by about 30-50 percent from the average amount in the year of the World Championship, so everything will be ok. Good teams will arrive in Minsk and hockey of perfect quality is guaranteed, with spectators receiving true pleasure..
By Dmitriy Komarovskiy