Global attitudes towards the World Cup 2018 in Russia

The latest Ipsos Global Advisor survey was conducted in 27 countries around the world and explores the attitudes towards the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia among those aware of the upcoming tournament. The survey was conducted online among adults aged under 65.

Global attitudes towards the World Cup 2018 in Russia

The author(s)

  • Gideon Skinner Ipsos Public Affairs, UK
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  • Worldwide, Germany and Brazil are the favourites to win the FIFA World Cup 2018, each picked by around two in ten of those aware of the upcoming competition
  • Just 3% of people aware of the World Cup globally think England will win the tournament – and only 4% in the UK
  • Overall, people have predominantly positive opinions about the games being held in Russia, though Russians themselves are relatively less passionate football followers
  • Real fans: Globally nearly one in four aware of the World Cup state they will miss work or school during the tournament.

Germany and Brazil are the favourites to win the FIFA World Cup in 2018

Nearly one in four (23%) of those aware of the World Cup think that the German football team will win the final of the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia, followed by the national teams of Brazil (21%), Spain (11%), Argentina (8%), France (4%), Portugal (3%), England (3%) and Russia (2%). Germany is also ahead when it comes to the question of which country is most likely to finish the tournament as the runner-up. Worldwide, almost two in ten people (18%) believe that Germany will become second, whereas at least fifteen percent consider that Brazil will be the runner-up.

High approval rates for the host country Russia

A strong majority of people around the world aware of the World Cup have positive opinions about the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia. Nearly three in four (73%) believe that Russia will be a successful venue for the World Cup. Nearly every Serb (95 %) agrees with that, which makes them the most optimistic population in regard to this matter, followed by the Chinese (90%) and the Indians (86%). Only in Poland (45%) and Great Britain (41%), do a majority of those aware of the World Cup think that Russia won't be a successful venue for the event.
Moreover, two in three (67%) believe that it is safe for fans from their country to travel to Russia to attend the World Cup, although there is a large discrepancy in the evaluation of safety between different countries. More than nine in ten people (91%) in Serbia agree that it is safe for Serbian football fans to attend the World Cup, whereas only three in ten Britons aware of the World Cup (31%) agree that it is safe for their people to travel to Russia. More than half of the respondents worldwide (56%) also think better about Russia as a country for hosting the World Cup. People from India (86%), China (84%) and Peru (83%) are most likely to agree with that statement while those from Germany (24%), Belgium (22%) and Great Britain (22%) are least likely to agree.  
Nevertheless, three out of ten (28%) of those aware of the competition think that their national team should boycott the World Cup in Russia. Most likely to support this are people from India (49%), Saudi Arabia (45%) and the US (45%). Least likely supporters are found in Japan (17%), Chile (16%) and Serbia (5%).

Russian hosts show less interest in football

Russians show the least interest in football: less than one in ten Russians (9%) consider themselves to be passionate football followers. Moreover one third of Russian respondents (35%) state that they watch games only occasionally while 36 % suggest that they do not follow football at all. Saudi Arabians and Peruvians are most likely to be passionate football followers. Four in ten people in these countries consider themselves as passionate football followers and watch as many games possible at any given time (41% and 38 % respectively).

Will people skip work to watch?

For many people, their passion for the game goes so far that they even expect to miss work or school to watch this coming World Cup. Globally, nearly one in four (24%) of those aware of the World Cup will most probably or definitely miss work or school during the tournament. This rate is highest in India (51%), Turkey (46%) and the US (46%); in contrast, only around ten percent of the population in Belgium (11%), Spain (10%) and Serbia (6%) plan to do so.

Trust in FIFA varies heavily from country to country

Overall, FIFA is perceived positively. Globally, six in ten of those aware of the World Cup (60%) trust FIFA to always do the best in the interest of football and its spectators. The approval and favorability ratings by the Chinese (87%), Indians (86%) and Malaysians (84%) are the highest, whereas the people from Argentina (46%), Chile (41%) and Great Britain (32%) are least likely to trust the FIFA. However, less than half of those interviewed (46%) think that the preparations towards the World Cup have been free from corruption. Most likely to believe in a corruption-free organising process are the people from India (78%), China (71%) and Saudi Arabia (69%), while the respondents from Japan (29%), Belgium (28%) and Great Britain (20%) are least likely to believe this. Furthermore, a vast majority (75%) consider that the World Cup nowadays is more concerned with corporate sponsorship than individual sportsmanship.

Football as a social experience

A vast majority of viewers will watch the 2018 World Cup in good company. Worldwide, more than eight in ten people (84%) who intend to follow the tournament will probably or definitely watch the games with relatives and/or friends. In Latin American countries like Peru (93%), Argentina (90%) and Mexico (89%), this is true for nine out of ten respondents. Furthermore, every second viewer (49%) expects to follow the World Cup with work colleagues.
Despite the ongoing digitalisation of everyday live, television sets remain the most popular media devices to watch the World Cup in 2018. Globally, more than six in ten viewers (62%) will use a television set to follow the tournament, while one quarter of the respondents (25%) who plan to watch the event will use the Internet to do so. Mobile devices (13%), tablet devices (8%) and the radio (6%) are less popular.

Technical Note

  • In total 19,766 interviews were conducted between 20 April and 04 May, 2018.  A screener identified 12,207 individuals who stated to have seen, heard or read about the FIFA World Cup. This group responded to the subsequent questions
  • The survey was conducted in 27 countries around the world, via the Ipsos Online Panel system in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Great Britain, and the USA.
  • Approximately 1000 individuals aged 16-64 or 18-64 were surveyed in total Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, Great Britain, and the USA. Approximately 500 individuals aged 16-64 were surveyed in Argentina, Belgium, Chile, Hungary, India, Malaysia, Peru, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Turkey.  Between c.200-700 people in each country were aware of the World Cup.
  • Where results do not sum to 100 or the ‘difference’ appears to be+-1 more/less than the actual, this may be due to rounding, multiple responses or the exclusion of don't knows or not stated responses.
  • The data are weighted to match the profile of the population. 16 of the 28 countries surveyed generate nationally representative samples in their countries (Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Poland, Serbia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and United States). Brazil, Chile, China, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Turkey produce a national sample that is considered to represent a more affluent, connected population. These are still a vital social group to understand in these countries, representing an important and emerging middle class.

The author(s)

  • Gideon Skinner Ipsos Public Affairs, UK

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