MOSCOW (AP) – A plague of locusts could destroy the fields in World Cup stadiums this year, the Russian government said Wednesday.
Locusts often feast on crops in southern Russia and the person who oversees plant protection at the agriculture ministry said they could descend on stadiums, too.
''We have more or less learned how to deal with locusts, but this year I'm afraid we could end up in an international locust scandal,'' Pyotr Chekmaryov said in comments reported by state news agencies. ''Soccer fields are green. Locusts like places where there is a lot of green. What if they fly to the places where football is played?''
Chekmaryov pointed out the Volgograd region as a particular concern.
Group games in Volgograd will include England's match against Tunisia and a game between Poland and Japan.
Addressing a conference of agricultural experts, Chekmaryov said it was ''our responsibility'' to ensure that Russians do not ''disgrace ourselves in front of global society, especially where we will have guests from all over the world.''