Russia has seen a lot of controversies emanate from its bid to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup; there was a time, during the height of the FIFA crisis, when the calls for Russia to lose its place as World Cup host reached a fever pitch. No one really expected Russia to actually fall in line with these suggestions, and it isn't like the betting odds would have been affected as a result.
However, it was a sign of the difficulty of the times in the soccer arena that such calls were arising. The recent calls from FIFA which prohibit World Cup Stadiums in Russia from hosting Rock concerts in the weeks leading up to the event might not attract as much of an uproar but they will keep Russia in the limelight.
FIFA published their newly updated World Cup regulations on Monday. The claimed that the new rule is designed to ensure that the field of play is of the highest quality, and non-football events could compromise that quality, which is why they are prohibited from taking place two months before the first match of the 2018 World Cup.
Of course, FIFA can always hand out exemptions to this rule, though they require explicit prior approval. There is also a new disciplinary records system in play. The scheme will add up the red and yellow cards, acting as a potential tiebreaker in the group stage when two sides have the same number of points.
The Stadiums and training sites used for the 2014 World Cup boasted a level of overuse by the time the main event arrived; along with similar issues arising at the European Championship in France in June, FIFA intends to strictly enforce the stricter turf rule.
The rock band AC/DC played a concert in Marseille a month before the European Championship; according to France Coach Didier Deschamps, the concert definitely contributed to a few problems.
Even though France beat Albania, Didier noted that having been re-laid on a tight schedule after the concert, the turf struggled to take root in heavy rain during Euro 2016. France also beat Germany in the semifinals on that same turf, though Didier was still adamant that the changing of the pitch following the concert adversely affected the tournament.
Beyond merely keeping rock concerts out, the new rule also gives FIFA the power to veto matches in the World Cup stadiums, training camp and pre-match practice field sites in the four weeks leading up to the tournament.
This new rule is part of updates that were made to a document that governs the qualifying stages. The organization is also planning to adopt UEFA's fair play concept as a final group stage tiebreaker before lots are drawn.
It intends to retain goal difference as the primary means of separating teams with the same points. UEFA prefers to utilize head-to-head record as the first tiebreaker stage. Where an outfield player must go into the goal, FIFA also expects teams to bring additional goalkeeper kits without names or numbers.
Additionally, it is no longer a requirement for the FIFA president to present the World Cup Trophy to the winning captain.