Russian President Vladimir Putin will be hoping that the soccer World Cup, which starts on Thursday and puts his country in the international spotlight, will bring an economic boost – but experts are downbeat about any long-term benefit.
Russia will host the largest event on the footballing calendar from June 14 to July 15, with the tournament being held in a handful of cities including Moscow, St. Petersburg and Sochi. It is the first time that Russia will host the Cup and, having reportedly spent over $14 billion on hosting the tournament, this competition is the most expensive in its history.
Russia will kick the tournament off Thursday by playing Saudi Arabia, another nation known more for its oil fields than soccer fields. Despite the home advantage, the Russian team is not expected to progress that far in the tournament. Unfortunately, the economy is not expected to get a big boost either.