FIFA unveiled the official poster for next year’s World Cup finals in Moscow on Tuesday. The poster has a vintage design of Soviet goalkeeping great Lev Yashin in flight. The art is inspired by constructivist art movement and the poster shows Yashin, wearing a knee brace and his signature cap, leaping across to get a hand on an oversized ball featuring Russia’s landmass seen from space. In its official statement, FIFA said orange rays emanate from the ball and the circle of green in the middle of the poster represents the pitches of the 12 tournament venues.
Talking about this new poster, FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura said that it is a proud moment. “We are very proud of this beautiful landmark asset that portrays such an important icon and celebrates the coming tournament on Russian soil,” he added. Yashin, who died in 1990, competed in four World Cups — 1958, 1962, 1966 and 1970. He is the only goalkeeper to have won the Ballon d’Or award. Russia is set to host the World Cup finals from June 14 to July 15 in 12 venues spread across 11 cities, including Moscow, St Petersburg and Sochi.
The poster’s presentation comes three days before the World Cup draw takes place to determine the matchups for the group stage.
Meanwhile, FIFA’s anti-discrimination advisers are warning gay soccer fans going to the 2018 World Cup in Russia that displays of affection could be met with an aggressive response from intolerant locals. Homosexuality was decriminalized in Russia in 1993, but anti-gay sentiment remains strong and intensified after a law was introduced in 2013 prohibiting dissemination to minors of “propaganda” legitimizing homosexuality.
As fans prepare their trips after Friday’s World Cup draw, the FARE network said it will produce a guide spelling out the threats to be prepared for in Russia. “The guide will advise gay people to be cautious in any place which is not seen to be welcoming to the LGBT community,” FARE executive director Piara Powar said. “If you have gay fans walking down the street holding hands, will they face danger in doing so? That depends on which city they are in and the time of day,” added Powar.