‘I am happy that the 2018 World Cup is here in Russia’ – Adidas CEO

‘I am happy that the 2018 World Cup is here in Russia’ – Adidas CEO
Adidas Group CEO Herbert Hainer recently visited Moscow to open the company’s "state-of the-art" Russia and CIS headquarters, where he spoke to RT and shared his thoughts about the upcoming FIFA 2018 World Cup.

Speaking to RT at the opening day of the slick new office at Krylatsky Hills business park, Hainer said the location will allow Adidas to build a sporting legacy in the lead up to and following the Russia 2018 World Cup.

“We have been looking for a new office for quite some time. This should also show our commitment and confidence in the perspective of the Russian market,” said Hainer, who has served as Adidas Group Chief Executive Officer for 25 years.

Occupying 20,000 sq m in the Western Administrative District of Moscow, the building makes the company the largest tenants in the area, and will act as the company vehicle to “change lives every day through sport”.

The stylish interior features a high-tech gym space, which holds novel fitness classes including a spinning group that follows a virtual fantasy cycle route on a big screen, and a fully equipped MMA training space complete with a fight cage. Hainer says the idea is to combine work and sport.

“We do not only want an office location where people work but where they can live their sporting life. And this is why we have built here together with the office space the most modern fitness centre which you can find in Russia. This is state of the art, with all the different categories: speed, exo speed, crossfit and we are quite happy about that,” Hainer said.

Adidas has long been a presence in Russian football. The company currently sponsors the Russian national football team, Moscow teams CSKA and Lokomotiv, and numerous athletes.

With a little under two years remaining until the FIFA World Cup in Russia, the nation is preparing for a feast of football featuring some of the world’s biggest stars right on its doorstep. Hainer believes the tournament will provide an abundance of sporting opportunities in Russia.

“Russia is a very sport enthusiastic population. A lot of sport activities happen here in Russia: we had the winter Olympics, we have the upcoming World Cup and Adidas is the brand which has been in longest connection with the Russian population, therefore there is a big opportunity for us which we want to grab.

“Football is the biggest sport in the world and the World Cup will enhance this. But I think there is a huge opportunity for all the different sports, Russia is great in track and field, ice hockey, gymnastics, and I definitely think that this will further continue."

The World Cup in Russia is set to be the most expensive in history, with the budget estimated to be around $40bn in total.

Hainer believes that there is the chance to leave a lasting sporting legacy in a country already rich in sporting history.

“A World Cup always leaves a huge legacy in a country, and I’m absolutely convinced this will happen here in Russia. I mean, just look at the newly built stadia, they will be much more modern, have much more comfort and they will also shift the demographics in the stadium, because we saw it in Germany after 2006, much more women coming into the stadium, much more kids, much more families, and this will definitely give a huge boost to football and to sport here in Russia.

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“Of course there are some challenges at the moment in the economic development but this will be overcome and I think sport really will drive the whole mood in the country and the whole optimism of the people – therefore I am quite happy that the World Cup in 2018 is here in Russia.”

The 2018 Football World Cup will take place in Russia from June 14 to July 15 and will be hosted by 11 cities. Aside from the well-known Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Sochi, football players and fans will have a chance to visit less famous cities like Kazan, Samara, Rostov-on-Don and Volgograd.