It won’t just be football on the menu when Russian President Vladimir Putin meets Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the World Cup opener between their two countries on June 14.
The two leaders will watch the World Cup’s opening game at Luzhniki Stadium next Thursday, with the meeting between the two teams not just shaping the outcome of Group A but also possibly the global oil market.
The game between the two nations takes place just over a week removed from a meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna, where it is hoped that they and their allies will reach an agreement to ease global concerns as the price of oil reaches its highest point in three years.
Putin and bin Salman are understood to be examining a proposal to boost oil output amid pressure from some major consumers, particularly the United States. It follows a deal cut between the two countries in 2016 to reduce oil production, with Putin having discussed what the Kremlin referred to as “fruitful coordination on world hydrocarbon markets,” according to Bloomberg.
It has been noted by analysts that Moscow appears open to amending the agreement to advocate for higher oil production and lower prices.
“We’re not interested in an endless rise in the price of energy and oil,” Putin said in May. “Our arrangements were never intended to remain in force forever.”
It remains to be seen if the result of the Russia versus Saudi Arabia match will have any impact on the outcome of the talks, but one thing is for certain – the world will be watching on June 14, and in more ways than one.