This summer’s World Cup in Russia could be under serious threat from a plague of locusts, government offcials have warned.
According to a report from the Associated Press, there are serious concerns that locusts, which are known to feast on crops in southern Russia, could descend on stadiums across the country ahead of the showpiece FIFA event.
Locusts often feast on crops in southern Russia and the person who oversees plant protection at the agriculture ministry said they could descend on stadiums, too.
“We have more or less learned how to deal with locusts, but this year I’m afraid we could end up in an international locust scandal,” Pyotr Chekmaryov, a representative from the agriculture ministry, warned in comments reported by state news agencies.
“Soccer fields are green. Locusts like places where there is a lot of green. What if they fly to the places where football is played?”
Chekmaryov singled out the Volograd region as one to be particularly concerned about – and that could spell very bad news for England fans.
The Three Lions will kick-off their World Cup campaign against Tunisia in Volgograd, while another fixture, between Poland and Japan, is due to take place in the region.
Any plague of locusts would likely force organisers to seek out alternative stadia, in a move that could leave both FIFA and fans alike seriously out of pocked.
Speaking at a conference of agricultural experts, warned it was Russia’s “responsibility” to ensure they did not “disgrace ourselves in front of global society, especially where we will have guests from all over the world.”
The news is probably the last things fans want to hear, particularly after one FIFA adviser warned against gay fans enjoying “displays of affection” in public during the tournament.
The FIFA World Cup kicks off on June 14, with hosts Russia taking on Saudi Arabia in the tournament curtain-raiser.