Slow ticket sales for the 2017 Fifa Confederations Cup have caused concern for the Russian Local Organising Committee (LOC), according to ESPN.
During the first phase of sales, Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko, who is overseeing preparations for the tournament in June and the World Cup next year, said that sales of 211,475 tickets so far were below expectations.
For the tournament kicking off on June 17, a total of 695,000 tickets have been made available, with the second phase of ticket sales starting April on 19.
“The only thing we are concerned with is the tempo of ticket sales,” Mutko, who is also the LOC head and the president of the Russian Football Union (RFU), told journalists. “We hope that by the start of the tournament the sales will gain tempo.”
The Confederations Cup, which features eight teams, including the host, 2014 Fifa World Cup winner Germany and Uefa Euro 2016 champion Portugal, is used as an opportunity to test facilities and systems ahead of the World Cup, which will be held in Russia next year.
Mutko claims that Russia is “completely ready” for hosting matches, although officials are concerned about the pitch at the St. Petersburg stadium, which is due to host the final.
The chief executive of Russian club Zenit St. Petersburg said that the field’s original grass had died, causing a rush to lay a new field before its inaugural game on April 22.
Last week, Zenit was cleared to move into the new 62,000-capacity stadium.
Earlier in the year during the first round of ticket sales, the organisers admitted that the demand for tickets from overseas was “low,” with the majority of sales coming from Russian fans so far.
The Confederations Cup will take place in Kazan, Moscow, Sochi and Saint Petersburg from June 17 to July 2. It will feature Russia, Australia, Chile, Germany, Mexico, New Zealand and Portugal and Cameroon.