Monday 26 February 2018, 08:51

Russia 2018 participants meet in Sochi

  • Sochi is hosting the 2018 World Cup Team Workshop this week

  • Representatives of all 32 countries will learn about the tournament

  • The workshop is the last time all competing nations will gather before the World Cup

Only three-and-a-half months remain until the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ begins, and final preparations continue in the Host Nation. For the 32 teams, it is also time to learn more about Russia’s organisation of this tournament.

This week, on 27 and 28 February, the Team Workshop will take place in Sochi. Here, explains the reason behind this event - one of the most important stages of the tournament preparations - its significance for both the teams and the Host Nation itself, and reveals who will be in attendance.

What is the Team Workshop? The Team Workshop is essentially the last opportunity for countries to look behind the scenes and find out about key elements of the World Cup’s organisation. A series of informative session will be held, covering different aspects of the upcoming competition, from security to technical issues.

Furthermore, it is a chance for teams to better understand the efforts of the Host Nation in organising the tournament. Of the 32 countries that will take part in the group stage, only five were already in Russia a year ago for the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017: Germany, Portugal, Australia, Mexico and, of course, Russia themselves. The workshop is the last time when all competing nations will gather before the World Cup actually gets underway.

“As we took part in the Confederations Cup last year, we have a general idea of what to expect at the World Cup,” said Russia's head coach Stanislav Cherchesov, who will attend the workshop. “But the World Cup is significantly larger and more complicated from an organisational point of view, so it’s going to be interesting to learn about it in more detail in Sochi. And for Russia as the Host Nation, it’s another chance to welcome the 32 teams and tell them how hard we’ve been working for this tournament.”

Who is attending the Team Workshop? Over 250 delegates from the 32 participating teams will take part in the workshop, including coaches, team doctors and experts in technical areas, media cooperation, accommodation, security, logistics, transport and marketing.

Ten head coaches will be among the delegates. Several other footballing legends will also be among the travelling parties,  including Jorge Burruchaga - 1986 world champion and Argentina’s current team manager – Fernando Hierro, sporting director of the Spanish Football Federation, and Nolberto Solano, who is now Peru’s assistant coach.

FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura, who will open the workshop on Tuesday , said: “FIFA, the LOC and the Russian authorities have been working very hard to ensure that the participating teams are catered for with the highest level of infrastructure and services.

“The Team Workshop is the moment when the member associations familiarise themselves with the result of this hard work and with what awaits them in a few months’ time in Russia. It is yet another opportunity for Russia to showcase how it is ready to welcome the world during the 2018 FIFA World Cup.”

Where is the Team Workshop being held? The southernmost Host City of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Sochi was handed the honour of hosting this prestigious event.

"Sochi is proud to be the first Host City of the World Cup to welcome international guests in 2018," said Russia 2018 Host City Ambassador Sergei Metreveli. Sergei's father, Slava, was one of the most famous footballers to come from Sochi, having appeared at the 1962, 1966 and 1970 World Cups, as well as winning the UEFA European Championship in 1960.

"Last year during the Confederations Cup, we showed that we're capable of hosting top football teams and their fans. Now the whole city cannot wait for the real festival of football, and to meet supporters from all the different countries."