Swarms of locusts could ruin the World Cup in Russia by attacking pitches, authorities have warned.
Pyotr Chekmarev, head of the agriculture ministry’s crop farming department said a plague of the insects could cause a “global scandal”.
“One way or another, we have learnt how to deal with locusts, but how do we not fall into a global scandal with locusts this year?” he said.
“The whole world is coming here. Football fields are green. Locusts love it where there is lots of green. How would they not come to the place where football is being played?”
Eleven cities across Russia will stage the tournament from June 14 to July 15, including Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Ekaterinburg and Kaliningrad.
Last year one of the host cities, Volgograd, was infested with locusts.
A species of grasshopper, locusts are usually solitary animals, but certain conditions can cause them to breed rapidly and form huge swarms.
They can travel great distances devouring any vegetation in their path.