As currently planned, the Russia World Cup will stretch 1,200 miles east to west and 1,500 miles north to south.
Russia is a big country, a really, really big country. Even only including the part of it that is technically in Europe, it is still one of the largest areas to ever host a World Cup. And FIFA is worried that it's an area that is simply too big to be practical.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter recently returned from Russia on a trip in which he met with President Vladimir and World Cup organizers and expressed some of these concerns. While Blatter has not suggested that FIFA would attempt to force Russia to make any changes to their plans of hosting a 12-stadiums-in-11-cities tournament, there is a growing sense that there is growing pressure to reduce the scope.
If the tournament goes off as planned, teams would be grouped into four regional clusters. While that seems to make some sense, the problem is that the area covers 1,200 miles from north to south and 1,500 miles from east to west. While that's not quite as bad as the travel concerns that faced teams during the 1994 World Cup in the United States -- that one stretched almost 3,000 miles from coast-to-coast -- it is a far greater distance than FIFA is used to. That greater distance comes with increased costs.
Russia is already planning to spend $51 billion, making this the most expensive World Cup to date.
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