In the evening of June 14, 2018 Bangkok’s Plaza Athenee Hotel was turned into a Kingdom of football. An exclusive Gala Dinner to celebrate the FIFA World Cup 2018 kick-off in Russia was co-hosted by the Embassy of Russia as a host country of the FIFA World Cup, Belgian company Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB-InBev) и Thai company King Power for the Thai high-society and the diplomatic corps. Budweiser (a part of the AB-InBev Group) is a FIFA official sponsor while King Power is one of the companies organizing TV broadcasting of the World Cup 2018 matches in Thailand.
In their welcoming remarks H.E. Mr. Kirill Barsky, Ambassador of Russia to Thailand and Count Gerald van der Straten Ponthoz, AB-InBev representative in Bangkok, emphasized the rope of football as the most popular sport in the world for strengthening peace and friendship between nations.
The program of the evening included a presentation of Russia, its culture, tourist attractions, traditions and meals of the Russian cuisine. Football theme was sensed everywhere – in the decoration of the ballroom, the dinner menu and the entertainments in the lobby. Black caviar and sturgeon fish were provided by the Russian company Caviar House. Every guest received souvenirs – World Cup mascot Zabivaka plush toys.
The audience cheerfully welcomed a symbolic ceremony of passing the full-size chocolate replica of the World Cup carved by a famous Belgian confectioner from the Charge d’Affaires of Brazil, host country of the FIFA World Cup 2014 to the Russian Ambassador and from him to the Charge d’Affaires of Qatar where the 2022 World Championship will be played.
A variety of prizes were offered for a lucky draw including the original FIFA ball made in Pakistan. This trophy was handed to a winner by H.E. Mr. Asim Iftikhar Ahmad, Ambassador of Pakistan to Thailand.
The party ended up in a collective viewing a live broadcast of the FIFA World Cup launching ceremony at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow and the opening match between Russia and Saudi Arabia. The guests warmly congratulated all the Russians present in the room on a beautiful victory of their national team.
Among the guests of the Gala Dinner were prominent representatives of the Thai business community, TV celebrities and more than 30 Ambassadors of foreign countries accredited in Bangkok.