By Jonathan Copping, Stone King LLP, London, United Kingdom
The 2018 World Cup is currently under way in Russia and anyone, who watched the England v Tunisia match in Volgograd on 18 June, most likely noticed that the stadium appeared to be covered in gnats. Players could be seen swatting the gnats away from their faces during the game.
In an attempt to stop the gnats from ‘attending’ the matches in Volgograd, the authorities have decided to spray vanilla concentrate on the trees and bushes around the stadium. Reports have suggested that the players have so far been wearing insect repellent, but, it appears to have had little effect against the gnats.
Volgograd is based in Southern Russia and has a hot and dry summer, which provides a perfect climate for the gnats.
The gnats in Volgograd is not the first story regarding insects at the World Cup. Back in February this year, fears were raised that swarms of locusts could damage the pitches in the stadiums and training grounds in Southern Russia.
Pyotr Chekmarev, the head of the Crop Farming Department of the Russian Agriculture Ministry, commented that swarms of locusts, that cover around a million hectares of land in southern Russia, could attack football pitches used to host matches during the World Cup and the training pitches used by competing nations based in the South of Russia.
“We have learnt how to deal with locusts, but how do we not fall into a global scandal with locusts this year. The whole world is coming here. Football fields are green. Locusts love it where there is lots of green”.
Fortunately, the locusts have been nowhere in sight- so far – and, with Volgograd not hosting any matches in the knock-out stages of the tournament, it is hoped that the 2018 World Cup will shortly be rid of any insect-related problems!
Jonathan Copping may be contacted by e-mail at ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’