First ever club Mundialito among clubs is completed. Eight teams were fighting tor the win at the huge arena called “Megasport” for five days. General Director of BSWW Gabino Renales in an interview with BSRussia highly appreciated the level of organization, explained it was decided to hold this tournament in such a rush, suspected BSRussia reporter in sympathy to Kristall and clarified that club Mundialito is not a world club championship.
"Organization in Moscow is a real miracle"
- Mr. Renales, congratulations on such a large-scale tournament. How satisfied are you with the level of organization?
- We are absolutely satisfied with what we saw. Taking this opportunity, I want to thank and congratulate Spartak and Lokomotiv with excellent work and tremendous efforts they invested so that club Mundialito in Moscow took place. The project was implemented in the shortest possible time, and it really looks like a miracle. Many thanks to all who worked on the organization of this wonderful competition. I would also like to note the great contribution of the Football Union of Russia. Without FUR’s approval this tournament would not have been possible.
- Is it possible to call club Mundialito in Moscow the largest indoor tournament in the history of BSWW?
- Definitely. Never before had we so many beach soccer stars gathered together in such a large indoor stadium.
- Club Mundialito will be remembered for the colorful opening ceremony and spectacular presentation of teams before matches. Is something like this possible in other BSWW tournaments?
- Spartak and Lokomotiv did a great job on the entertainment component of the tournament and turned the presentation of teams into a colorful show. This gives another reason to praise the organizers and admire their work. In my opinion, the tournament will first of all be remembered for incredible games between very strong teams. It was the highest class beach soccer, which left no one indifferent. Answering your question, I must say that such light shows are hardly possible in open-air competitions, since we usually play in the daytime. But, of course, the organizers of Moscow tournament set the bar high, including this aspect of the show.
- Mundialito in Moscow was announced three weeks before it started. How adequate is this period for preparing a tournament of this level? What is the reason for such a rush?
- Usually club Mundialito takes place in Brazil. It should have happened this time, but due to some difficulties with local organizers, we had to postpone the tournament from December to February. But the Brazilian side still had problems, so we started looking for other options. Spartak and Lokomotiv reported that they would be happy to take Mundialito. After that, BSWW contacted FUR and got a green light. Thanks to this, tournament in Moscow has become a reality, and now everyone is pleased with the results.
"The choice of Megasport Arena was correct, stadium was not empty"
- Were you upset to witness such an embarassing number of spectators in the stands?
- I always want more. Obviously, I would be glad to see more spectators in the stands. But these days I talked to a large number of experts from various sports, and everyone told me that it is very difficult to attract fans to a sporting event in Moscow. I heard from many reputable and knowledgeable people that the audience was very good for such a short preparation time and for not very popular and traditional sport in Russia. I think the organizers can be proud of the results of their work, especially because the number of fans has increased significantly by the weekend.
- You said that in Moscow it is difficult to attract people to beach soccer, but Euroleague stages in Moscow almost always are sold out. Is there any contradiction here?
- It’s a matter of stadium capacity (smiles). The arena in Strogino is much smaller than Megasport.
- You are right, but the audience at the Club Mundialito in Moscow was still much smaller than at Euroleague.
- I do not argue with the fact that certain roughness with attendance was real. This is also due to the fact that all matches of the tournament were broadcasting to many countries. It meant that game time was not always convenient for local fans. Nevertheless, we had spectators at every game, they were very active and warmly supported teams and created an unforgettable atmosphere. In general, we have only positive impressions. This is a great experience for future tournaments.
- Do your words mean that club Mundialito in Moscow can become annual?
- This project has great potential and a great future. We have yet to discuss all the details, but personally I have no doubt that club Mundialito can get a permit residence in Moscow.
- One of the largest arenas in Moscow was chosen as the venue for the tournament. Wouldn't it have been more reasonablel to hold a tournament in a smaller stadium, where there would be more chances for a full house?
- One may discuss nuances as much as possibe, but you can not change the main thing. The organizers did an amazing job, prepared and held an incredible tournament on a fantastic stage on a short notice. Everything was at the highest level: service, convenience, comfort for the audience. Holding a beach soccer tournament on such a prestigious and large arena adds value to our sport and allows it to loudly declare itself.
- Even if its occupancy rate is poor?
- The organizers chose one of the best venues in Moscow, and there was not a single when it was empty.
- Let's summarize it. Do you really think that the choice of the arena was correct?
- Definitely. And I’m not the only one who thinks so. Now it is very easy to say that something could be better at another stadium. We do not know all Moscow arenas, and I’m sure that finding a good option in a short time is not so easy. I can say for sure that club Mundialito in Moscow was a very successful and correct decision.
- On Friday, one of the most popular singers in Russia, Basta, performed here. However, it almost did not affect the number of viewers. Do you consider it a good idea to invite a pop star to sing in a tournament?
- First of all, Basta is a great artist. He is a good friend of some important people in Spartak team, so he agreed to come to Megasport and perform for the fans. We should take it as a compliment to the organizers and a great opportunity to see the performance of such an amazing singer. I do not think that the meaning of his invitation was the desire to attract more spectators to the stands. As you could see, we didn’t have any ads of the tournament in the city. I want to thank Basta for his excellent performance, this is another detail that adds importance to the tournament. But we do not mix music and beach soccer.
"According to my information, Kristall was invited to Mundialito"
- We did not see Kristall here. The club management reported that it had not received an invitation from organizers. What is BSWW position here?
- Club Mundialito in Moscow was an initiative of Spartak and Lokomotiv. According to my information, they sent an invitation to Kristall. But we must understand that holding the tournament here required a lot of effort, and Krystall said that they did not want to come. In addition, Kristall is now in Thailand on a training camp, which was already scheduled before the dates of Moscow Mundialito were determined. So, regardless of what Kristalll says, they simply could not come, because they had already agreed to go to another place at the same time.
I do not want to talk about Kristall any longer. First of all, they are not in St. Petersburg now. Second, as you can see, all participants of the tournament represent famous brands from big football. Kristall does not have a name in big football.
- But Kristall was supposed to go to Brazil if the tournament was not cancelled, right?
- Moscow is Moscow, and Brazil is Brazil.
- Fans from St Petersburgh could come to Moscow to support Kristall…
- Are you sure about that?
- I know more than 20 people who would definitely come to Moscow to cheer for Kristall.
- Are you a fan of this team?
- No no. I only support the Russian national team. The reason I’m asking these questions is that many people don’t understand the process of determining the participants of Mundialito. Believe me, I'm not the only one.
- We always try to attract the best teams available to the tournament. It is clear that in Brazil we had large Brazilian clubs, and in Moscow most of the teams represent Europe. I will not hide the fact that we sent invitations to several other teams, but they could not come to Moscow because of the tight deadlines and their own plans.
- Of the eight participants in the tournament, only three are the current champions of their countries ...
- This is not a criterion we follow choosing participants. We never looked at the positions of teams in the national championships.
- Why is it called club world championship then?
- The tournament is called club Mundialito.
- But the organizers themselves have repeatedly called him the club world championship.
- I do not know how it is properly translated into Russian.
- Good. But can you say that the club Mundialito is not a world championship among clubs?
- We do not have such a tournament. We have a club Mundialito.