A guide to the New East

Home and away: pitchside with the local football teams fuelling Russia’s World Cup dreams

Share on LinkedIn Share via Email
With the World Cup in Brazil almost upon us, it seems timely to focus on a photography project that deftly captures the global appeal and local resonance of the beautiful game. Sergey Novikov's photo series Grassroots comes from his two passions: football and the Russian provincial landscape. The Moscow photographer's aim is to capture amateur teams on their home grounds, illustrating how provincial sports teams form a network of activity across the country. fuelling culture and national identity. "The aim of the Grassroots project is to show the place of the stadium in the urban infrastructure, to analyse its impact on the local community," he says. Over the course of the project Novikov has also come to recognise how local stadiums across Russia reflect local identity. "In Tver region stadiums are often surrounded by concrete blocks. In Pryazha in Karelia stadiums have a wooden stockade. Football pitches in the Murmansk region don't have grass cover due to their location in a polar region." Novikov has already photographed over 30 stadiums in 30 regions and plans to carry on his quest at least till 2018, when Russia hosts the World Cup for the first time.

More from

New East road trips

5 stunning journeys from Montenegro to Mongolia


Owen Hatherley on the Armenian capital’s fusion of the ancient and the Soviet

Letter from Skopje

Journey through the Macedonian capital in search of a post-communist identity

Off-road in Siberia

Step into the untamed expanse of the Russian wilderness

Literary Budapest

Discover traces of early 20th century writers in the modern city

Soviet Bus Stops Volume II

Christopher Herwig is back with more wild architectural wonders