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During the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia, there was a stern warning to media men not to use their personal hotspot or internet devices at the various media centres and the media tribune at the stadiums.

Rather, free Wifi was provided by the Russian World Cup organizers.

The reasons may not be far-fetched. It is to monitor what was going on in the Russian cyberspace. It has been gathered that Russian President, Vladimir Putin said that his country’s information infrastructure was the target of almost 25 million cyber-attacks during the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

According to a report monitored from Moscow Times, the Russian leader made the remarks in a meeting with security services in capital Moscow, a few hours after France won its second World Cup.


“During the period of the World Cup, almost 25 million cyber-attacks and other criminal acts on the information structures in Russia, linked in one way or another to the World Cup, were neutralized,” Russia’s TASS news agency quoted Putin as saying.

The Russian leader, whose comments were reported by the Kremlin, provided no further details regarding the nature or possible origins of the cyber-attacks.

“Behind this (World Cup) success lies huge preparatory, operational, analytical and information work, we operated at maximum capacity and concentration,” added Putin.

It was the first time that the World Cup was held in Eastern Europe, and the 11th time that it had been held in Europe. It was also the first World Cup to use the video assistant referee (VAR) system.


Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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