The 2018 world Cup in Russia — reputational risk?

The international football Federation (FIFA) has faced difficulties in finding new sponsors ahead of the 2018 world Cup in Russia, writes the Financial Times. Potential commercial partners are afraid of reputational risks, the newspaper notes: FIFA is trying to recover from a corruption scandal, and Russia, many in the West as a pariah after annexing Crimea in 2014. Writes the FT, the Federation has lost several major sponsors, including Sony and Emirates, their contracts ended after the world Cup in Brazil in 2014.

On the eve of the tournament in Russia at the FIFA only 10 signed sponsorship contracts — less than half the Brazilian championship. Thus, according to the newspaper, sponsorship agreements and the sale of rights to broadcast cover up to $ 2 billion cost to host the world Cup.

Russian companies are also reluctant to join the main football event of the coming years: according to Financial Times, only Alfa-Bank has agreed to sponsor the event.

"Many companies think that they just want to get money for important social and political event, — quotes the edition of Professor of the Russian international Olympic University Andrew Malgina. They initially afraid that will pay the money and profits will not see." The paper also notes that the recent FIFA contract with the Chinese company Hisense was awarded in the amount of about $ 100 million — much less than the previous sponsorship agreement.

Student compromise

The Times leads with reports that the British Prime Minister Theresa may is ready to make concessions and not to consider foreign students in the performance of his promise to reduce the number of immigrants to "tens of thousands".

As it became known to the newspaper, such a compromise — an attempt to eliminate obstacles to the reform bill of higher educational institutions, which the Parliament can make next week.

Earlier Mei has repeatedly rejected calls for his Ministers to take a softer position in relation to the coming to Britain of foreign students. However, according to the latest estimates, as the newspaper notes, in the years 2015-16 to come to 134 thousand foreign students by 41 thousand fewer than a year earlier. This was also a record low level since 2002.

The need for compromise right now because of the bill to raise tuition fees in universities, which is in Parliament. The house of lords was prepared to it amendment guarantees a warm welcome to foreign students.

Because of early elections (and, accordingly, the dissolution of Parliament) remains less than two months, the Parliament begins the so-called "period of the wash" (wash-up period), when the MPs have to deal with all pending bills, otherwise they will be lost. In such circumstances, the government often have to bargain and make concessions to the opposition to hold the desired document through Parliament.

Downing street refused to comment on a possible compromise, adds the Times. "This amendment of the lords gives you the opportunity to do the right thing for our universities, at the same time sending a clear signal that Britain is open to the world both in word and deed, — the newspaper quoted the Deputy head of the organization "Universities in Britain" (Universities UK) Alistair Jarvis. — Students — not those immigrants who want to obstruct, you have to understand that they are temporary visitors, investing in their and our future".

Despite sanctions

"International sanctions against Moscow was conceived with the aim to block Russian energy companies access to technologies they need for sophisticated drilling technologies. Three years later they got some of my own skills," writes Henry Foy in Financial Times special report.

"Moment of triumph" of President Vladimir Putin, the reporter calls the commencement of drilling wells Central Olginskaya-1 — the most Northern in the Russian Arctic shelf.

This well is one of the most technologically challenging to develop in Russia, requiring horizontal drilling. "Three years ago, when the US and the EU imposed sanctions against the country, [...] it was believed that the development of such complex wells will be impossible, writes the FT. However, as shown by projects like the Central bore of ol'ginskaya, Russian oil and gas companies in spite of everything found a way to continue working".

According to Henry Foy, the sanctions have definitely had an effect — but it was short-lived. Over the past nine months as the recovery in oil prices — began to recover, the Russian economy, writes the journalist, referring to estimates of the Russian Ministry of economic development.

"There is a common consensus that the shock of the fall in oil prices overshadowed the sanctions, — quotes the FT's chief economist for Russia at the world Bank Apurva Sangha. — View, in recent years authorities have made in the macroeconomic sphere is quite unusual, and the results are yet to come".

Another example, which leads the newspaper — achievements "Gazprom oil", which last year held its first multi-stage frac horizontal wells in the Yuzhno-Priobskoye field. As the newspaper notes, the company used its own technology, which it had to develop after the release of the draft international partners.

"We as the snow, — the newspaper quotes words of the head of Department of strategy and innovation, "Gazprom oil" Sergey Vakulenko. — The harder you squeeze, the stronger it becomes".

Due to sanctions

Success of the Russian economy under sanctions and continues business columnist for the Financial Times Nick Buckley. When, after the imposition of sanctions, the Russian authorities had presented them as an opportunity for import substitution and economic growth, many Western investors and analysts were skeptical, he says. "However, at least in one area — agriculture and related sectors — this optimism is justified," says Buckley.

Last year Russia became the world's largest exporter of grain, despite the fact that in Soviet times the country was a net importer of this commodity, the newspaper said. In addition, Russia has fully replaced the import of pork and chicken, and also became a major producer of sugar beets.

Actually, according to FT, the Western sanctions have done little of this. "The sanctions that gave rise to import substitution, was introduced by Russia in retaliation — a ban on many Western products," — says columnist. Success was also facilitated by state subsidies to farmers, the devaluation of the ruble and falling prices for fertilizer and fuel.

The most attractive opportunities to be found in Asia, on the border with China in Russia there are large areas of fertile land, says FT. However, food exports to China is still in embryo, and the development of this sector could take years. "However, even without it, the rapid growth of Russian agriculture shows that despite the sanctions and bad relations between the West and the East, in the Russian market there are zones of interest", — concludes the newspaper.