1. Mr. Kadyrov, you have 17 years of experience in the sports industry. Could you have imagined back in 2001 that Kazan would be hosting major sports events like the Universiade and the World Cup?
Hosting major multi-sports events has been a grand dream come true for me and my colleagues. We knew that we had so much to accomplish even when filed a bid to host the 2011 World Student Games. We did not give up when we lost. We pushed on with our ambition and eventually we won the right to host the Universiade.
2. Could you tell us more about the preparations for the 2013 Universiade?
It took a lot of effort indeed. We had to upgrade and build our sports infrastructure for 27 sports, design and construct the Universiade village (it was a major project that became the best campus in Russia), re-build road junctions, pave dozens of kilometers of new roads that helped Kazan get rid of traffic jams…
The Universiade changed Kazan dramatically, not just the city but the attitude of people who have taken up sports and led a healthy lifestyle since then. The entire country has worked hard to deliver the project. That experience has come handy during the preparations for the upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup.
3. Experts hailed the Kazan Universiade as one of the best in history in terms of the way it was organized. How did you manage to achieve it in a city that had not had any prior experience of hosting such large-scale events?
It is down to hard teamwork, support from our country's leadership, the leadership of Tatarstan, federal and regional ministries and agencies, our sponsors and partners. The effort helped to train a high-class cohort of managers in sports (and beyond). Following the Universiade, we staged many international projects, including the FINA World Aquatics Championship, the 2014 World Fencing Championships, the MINEPS conference, as well as World and European Cup events in other sports. Right now we are getting ready for the WorldSkills competition.
Human capital is the main legacy of the Universiade. I am proud to be part of the team that pulled it off.
4. This year, Russia is hosting the 2018 FIFA World Cup. What is Kazan doing to surprise fans from around the world?
As always, Kazan will offer the best of its hospitality to welcome associations, media and fans. During the 2017 Confederations Cup, Kazan received a lot of positive feedback. It was the first FIFA competition in Kazan, and we delighted to greet the fans. This year, they will be getting a warm welcome, too. They would see a city that blends the best from the East and the West and get a flavor of Tatar cuisine… Those who will not get match tickets would be welcome to come to the FIFA Fan Fest that can accommodate 20,000 people at any one time.
5. Many celebrities praised the level of hospitality in Kazan and Tatarstan in general. Cristiano Ronaldo, for instance, was very positive about his stay at the Confederations Cup. This time around, Kazan is hosting several top teams – France, Spain and Germany. Is it ready?
Absolutely. Kazan Arena was tested during the Confederations Cup. Just recently, FIFA published the list of 32 team base camps. Three of them are located in Tatarstan – FC Rubin training site, Ice Hockey Ak Bars training site, and the training site at the Kazan Skiing Center. Our city will work hard to make the World Cup participants feel at home.
7. How are you going to demonstrate Tatarstan’s national identity?
The FIFA Fan Fest will be the main venue, open from June 14 through July 15, just like the World Cup itself. The venue will offer commercial displays, the FIFA official store, lounges, catering and animation areas. The audience will be treated to routines, concerts and shows by local bands and performers. But the eyes will be mainly glued to the main screen which will broadcast all the 64 World Cup matches.
Together with the regional Tourism Committee, the Culture Ministry came up with a cultural event concept for Kazan’s residents and guests during the 2018 FIFA World Cup. I am positive that the visitors will be impressed with their stay in Kazan and Tatarstan in general and our sights including the Kremlin, the ancient town of Bolgar and the island town of Sviyazhsk…
9. Would you like Kazan to host the Olympic Games one day?
I think this dream would come true sooner or later. In any case, if one day Kazan wins the bid, we would do our best to host the games at the top level.
10. What sports events will be taking place in the Republic following the World Cup?
On February 13-18, Kazan hosted the 2018 edition of the European Men's and Women's Team Badminton Championships attended by 500 athletes. Later in the spring we will have the FINA Diving World Series (May 4-6).
Following the World Cup, we will host the World Beach Handball Championships on July 22-30.
I must also mention the Red Bull Air Race. Kazan is set to host one of the stages on August 25-26. In July 2017, Tatarstan was the site of the first ever Russian stage of the Air Race, which had a tremendous success with the city residents and guests. The race will return this year and next year, too.
A month later we will welcome the participants of the second leg of the Women’s Sevens Rugby World Cup 2018 (August 31 – September 3), followed by the FINA Swimming World Cup (September 4-10).
On August 22-27, 2019 Kazan is scheduled to host the 45th WorldSkills competition, with 250,000 spectators expected.
It is a pretty tight schedule, as you can see. The furthest event we have on our planning horizon right now is the 2022 FIFA Short Course Swimming Championships that will take place along with the FINA Congress. A total of six days and 1,200 swimmers from 180-190 countries. We have started our preparations since every project we work on is a special one for us.