The Russian government says a plague of locusts could “disgrace” the country by destroying pitches at World Cup stadiums.
Locusts often feast on crops in southern Russia and Pyotr Chekmaryov, who oversees plant protection at the agriculture ministry, says they could descend on stadiums, too.
In comments reported by state news agencies, Chekmaryov said: “We’ve more or less learned how to deal with locusts, but this year I’m afraid we could end up in an international locust scandal.”
He added: “Locusts like places where there is a lot of green,” stressing “not to disgrace ourselves in front of global society, especially where we will have guests from all over the world.”
Chekmaryov pointed out the Volgograd region as a particular concern. The city of Volgograd will host England's opening game of the tournament against Tunisia on 18 June.
The 2018 World Cup will begin four days earlier when hosts Russia meet Saudi Arabia in Moscow. The final will be held a month later on 14 July.
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