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2018 World Cup may be used for alcoholic business expansion


Jun 10, 2016
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Russian officials keep actively use preparations to the football World Cup in their corruption schemes for their own benefit. Except for “exploitation” of milliards when building infrastructure objects for the World Cup the combination was designed to receive benefits for import of alcoholic products in Russia. That is implied in the draft decision of the Council of the Eurasian Economic Commission developed by the Ministry of Sport of the Russian Federation on changing the list of goods which FIFA and other World Cup sponsors may import to the country using special simplified rules.

It is worth to be mentioned that customs benefits were one of the obligations taken by Russia to obtain the right to hold the 2018 World Cup. At the same time it was not initially supposed that the goods necessary for holding “official international sport events” shall be subjects to the benefits. But the officials of the Ministry of Sport of Russia on the sly decided to extend the list and propose to introduce the benefits for goods and events “related to their organization, holding, media coverage, positioning, advertising, opening, closing and summarizing the competitions which are organized and approved by the organizer of sport competitions.” Except of the professional equipment for recording and coverage of sporting events in media, computers, office supplies, equipment etc this list includes also “excisable goods”. That is the alcohol which seems to be necessary for FIFA to implement “its obligations to the World Cup sponsors.”

This canny move has already drawn quite negative response among the experts. Thus, head of the Centre for research of federal and regional alcohol market of Russia Vadim Drobyz called such intention criminal. The expert claims, “the church was the last that did things of this nature under the auspices of the sport funds in the middle of 90s, but then it was a least-evil solution, when it was necessary to let sport and church survive. Today there is no possibility in it. It is not worth breaking existing rules making a precedent as later it will create a loophole to use.” This was echoed by the famous lawyer Hayk Safaryan who noticed that excisable products (tobacco and alcoholic) initially were not excused from customs and other duties when organizing large-scale events, moreover sporting. Safaryan explains, “Quite possibly the situation associated with someone’s interests might appear. Usually when the products are imported under preferential treatment, for instance, for investment purposes, such products are excused from repayments provided they are identified, they further employment is controlled and they are marked. While for alcoholic products it is impossible to trace their further employment”.

Such is the opinion of other experts, but I may bet, that the plan of the officials of the Ministry of Sport of Russia would be implemented – as this alcoholic speculation initiated under the pretext of preparation to the 2018 World Cup is too adventitious and profitable.


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