Klara Bjartmarz, CEO of the Football Association of Iceland (KSÍ), told RÚV preparations are well underway for Iceland’s participation in the FIFA World Cup. Iceland secured its spot in the 2018 tournament with a 2-0 win last night against Kosovo, finishing first in their group. The win makes Iceland the least populated nation to ever make it to a World Cup tournament.
Klara states KSÍ staff are excited about the coming tournament, which takes place in Russia, though they also realize that much work lies ahead. “We have to look at the team’s situation. We also have to learn from the mistakes we made around the UEFA European Championship in France. Then we need to consider how we run things in Iceland at the same time as we take on this big project abroad. Lastly, we could have supported our associations here at home better at the same time as that project was happening. Then we also need to consider whether we need to increase the staff in the office.”
KSÍ must also consider new marketing opportunities which come with participation in the World Cup, states Klara. “There are therefore many, many angles to consider. And we have the experience from France and need to build on it.”
Klara is not worried about the conditions in Russia, though the environment will be quite different than during the European Championship in France. “We have already gone to Russia and chosen our headquarters which will serve as our base, chosen a hotel and other things. We also have a great embassy in Russia. Berglind Ásgeirsdóttir is the ambassador there, who was in Paris when we were in France. We joked a lot when she moved to Moscow that she was a precursor. We know they will support us well,” she stated.
Klara is confident that Russia is organizing the World Cup well. “Of course it will be different but football pitches are the same, of equal size, with green grass and two goals.”