The Confederations Cup is a test for the World Cup host to fix potential issues the year before a World Cup. It’s an eight team tournament featuring the host, World Cup winner and confederation champions for each of the six confederations. It’s not exactly a prestigious tournament by any means but it is a bit of fun for a few weeks in summer.
Russia is worried about low ticket sales during its first wave of sales. After being allocated 695,000 tickets for the 16 game tournament, the Associated Press reports that only 211,475 tickets were sold which is well below initial expectations. Another wave of ticket sales will take place April 19 but organizers are already behind the 8-ball as they attempt to fill their stadiums.
The host country obviously leads in ticket sales but of the other seven nations, Chile leads with only 7,000 tickets sold so far. That means Australia, Cameroon, Germany, Mexico, New Zealand and Portugal are at the very least, less than 7,000.
While organizers are worried about the lack of demand, this shouldn’t really be a surprise. For one thing, as you can see, it’s a pretty weak group.
But more importantly, the big reason is exactly what should have been thought of before they won the World Cup bid in the first place. Why would anyone outside of Russia would want to go to Russia? Don’t get me wrong, Russia looks like a lovely country. But with everything Vladimir Putin has done politically, in addition to the rampant racism, sexism and homophobia both in and out of the stadiums, as well as the hooliganism we’ve seen from the Euros last year, why would anyone spend thousands of dollars to go to that in the Confederations Cup? I don’t know why many would do it for the World Cup either but at least more people are willing to do it for that than a tune-up tournament.
The Confederations Cup is usually a preview of how the World Cup will turn out. Despite an expected low turnout, if Russia can prove to have a safe Confederations Cup, maybe it will make more people feel safe enough to go to the World Cup without the danger of getting hurt. But if anything happens during these 16 games, expect similar issues at the World Cup next year.