February 1, 2018,
Swarms of locusts pose a threat to Russia’s World Cup. This, according to an agriculture ministry official, is because they could attack pitches thereby causing a “global scandal“.
Matches will be played in 12 stadiums in 11 cities. Pyotr Chekmarev, head of the agriculture ministry’s crop farming department, said locusts could target the pitches during the summer months.
However, he expressed his fear that in the event that locusts do invade the pitches it would cause a worldwide uproar with reference to the World Cup matches. This is in spite of the fact that they are well prepared and versed in dealing with locusts. Furthermore, it does not help that the pitches will have green grass since locusts thrive on the same.
Eleven cities across Russia will stage the tournament from June 14 to July 15, including Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Ekaterinburg, and Kaliningrad. Chekmarev further added that last year, around a million hectares of land in southern Russia was infested with locusts, including around the World Cup host city of Volgograd.
As expected, a few media could not help but poke fun at the situation, with CBS coming up with a “2018 FIFA World Cup survival guide”, referenced from the 10 plagues during the time of Moses:
Bring your own water. You don’t want to be drinking from the tap if it inexplicably turns to blood.
Learn the differences between frog types. Remember: Bright colors usually equal poisonous. Always err on the side of caution.
Shave your head. Lice are no fun.
Hide your livestock. Also, maybe learn to hunt. Depending on how you read the plagues, also be prepared for the outbreak of flies.
Bring skin cream. If a mysterious soot starts to fill the air, make absolutely sure that your skin isn’t exposed.
Have shelter nearby. Hail is very dangerous and can do a lot of damage. Make sure there’s somewhere you can duck indoors.
The aforementioned locusts need to be repelled. They like green, remember, so avoid green clothes.
Bring a flashlight. But that’s just good life advice.
Leave your firstborn at home.