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20 May, 2008 09:49

Moscow all set for English onslaught

Moscow is getting ready to host the Football Champions League Final on Wednesday. More than 55,000 thousand fans from English are expected to travel to Russia to see their countries top clubs Chelsea and Manchester United. Hotels, restaurants and bars are

The Champions League Final is widely seen as Russia's rehearsal for the Winter Olympics in Sochi. However the commercial impact of the event is relatively modest.

“The city of Moscow has already invested a lot in organising the event, including the reconstruction of the Luzhniki stadium. In line with their rules, UEFA will pay us approximately $US 2.6 million. Needless to say, our costs are significantly higher,” Aleksandr Polinsky from Moscow’s Municipal Comittiee said. 

Moscow will cash in through taxes paid by hotels, restaurants and pubs. Moscow hotels are fully booked despite sky high prices. UEFA alone has booked eight luxury hotels for its VIP guests. Nightclubs are also counting on major profits.

An elite Moscow nightclub, The Most, will stage an after party for the game's players and fans.
“We get regular phonecalls from Great Britain. People want reservations and are asking for directions. We and other elite clubs will be packed. Naturally our profits will jump,” Sergey Sachkov, The Most Club VIP manager, said.

But most fans will be arriving early on the day of the match. With the game scheduled for 11 pm, its bars and pubs who hope to see their profits reach transcendental heights.

“Sales will probably go up four to six times, probably being the biggest night of the year. Each of my guests will probably drop $US 300 to 500 each during the time they are here,” Doug Steele, Papa’s Place general manager said.  

But for Moscow and Russian football, the dividend will be of a more lasting kind. They will gain experience staging a major sports event and the reputation-boost from a successful one.