Moscow, Oct 22 (IANS) A wolf has been chosen as mascot of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, according to the results of public voting announced live on a TV channel on Saturday. The wolf will be named Zabivaka.
Public voting was launched on September 23 on FIFA's official website and social networks and closed at 8.18 p.m. Moscow time on Thursday. On Friday, people could also cast their votes for a mascot on the Channel One's official website, reports Tass.
The public voting was announced live in the "Vecherny Urgant" TV programme on Channel One.
"The mascot is very important from the point of view of promoting the country and the championship," Vitaly Mutko, Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the "Russia-2018" Organizing Committee, said.
"This is a memory. Do you remember how everyone cried when Mishka flew away in 1980?" he asked.
The campaign on choosing a mascot kicked off in April 2015 with voting for possible characters. Over 50,000 young fans took part in voting and chose ten most popular characters.
At the second stage of the campaign, students of arts colleges across the country came into play, attempting to "bring to life" these characters.
The author of the wolf mascot is Yekaterina Bocharova, student at the Tomsk State University's graphic design college. Among finalists of the voting are also a cat and a tiger.
Russian cities of Kaliningrad, Kazan, Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don, Saint Petersburg, Samara, Saransk, Sochi, Volgograd and Yekaterinburg will host FIFA World Cup 2018 to last from June 14 through July 15, 2018.