Star-struck: FIFA forced to redo Russia World Cup ad

2018-06-04 17:33
2018 Soccer World Cup (Supplied)

Moscow - World football's governing body FIFA admitted on Monday it will have to redo a fancy TV spot for the Soccer World Cup finals Russia will be hosting for the first time from June 14.

The 45-second ad features artsy graphics and suitably momentous music to get fans in the mood. Billions of people will see it before every game.

The plot revolves around a football that flies over the 11 host cities while historic World Cup moments play out on a peculiarly spinning pyramid.

The ball soon reaches the Kremlin - and that is where the problems start.

Russia's history has seen its spired towers undergo many incarnations.

None of them included the Christian crosses that FIFA stuck on top.

"The stars vanished from the Kremlin towers in FIFA's ad," Russia's Vesti.ru state television news site complained.

FIFA conceded on Monday that the Kremlin really did have a shiny red star on its famous Spasskaya Tower facing Lenin's Mausoleum.

"FIFA is extremely happy with the feedback received so far on the 2018 FIFA World Cup TV opening, especially from Russian fans," a FIFA spokesperson told AFP.

"With their help, we were able to identify that indeed the element you mention was not accurate. We are now working on an updated version that will be released soon."

Some in Russia were taking the mistake far more seriously than others.

A tiny pro-government news site called Krasnoyarsk Vesna (Red Spring) published an analytical column picking apart what it perceived as FIFA's historic slight of the hosts.

It compared the ad to efforts by nations in eastern Europe to scrub their cities clean of all remnants of the Soviet Union after its collapse in 1991.

War-scarred Ukraine has done the same since ousting its Russian-backed leadership in 2014.

"We will remind you that de-Sovietisation introduced the cruelest possible schisms in society," the website wrote.

"Thus, the ad presented by FIFA joins the ranks of events such as the removal of monuments and memorials dedicated to the Soviet people's victory in World War II."

President Vladimir Putin has been accusing unfriendly countries of trying to diminish the Soviet role in defeating Nazi Germany for much of his 18-year rule.

Spasskaya Tower was topped by the two-headed eagle - now part of Russia's coat of arms - until Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin replaced it with the star in the 1930s.

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