By Duncan Mackay

Lamine Diack with Moscow Mayor Sergei SobyaninApril 6 - Russian organisers of this year's World Championships in Moscow have been criticised by International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) President Lamine Diack for their lack of promotion of the event.

The Championships, due to be held at the Luzhniki Stadium between August 10 and 18, is the biggest athletics event to be staged in Russia since the 1980 Moscow Olympics. 

But they are sandwiched between the 2013 Universiade in Kazan and the 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Sochi, and Diack is concerned that the World Championships are being overlooked and that ticket sales are suffering as a result.

"I've seen a lot of references to the Universiade," said Diack, who is in the Russian capital attending a meeting of the IAAF ruling Council, which started today, Ria Novosti reported.

"And when I was at a sports forum in Kazan, President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev only talked about Kazan and Sochi."

Diack issued his warning during a meeting with Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin.

"To successfully host a competition, you need to advertise," said Diack.

"You should make every Muscovite know that on August 10 you can come to Luzhniki."

Luzhniki Stadium emptyCapacity has been reduced to 50,000 at the Luzhniki Stadium for the World Championships

Last October Diack had warned Russian officials that selling tickets for the event was their "biggest challenge".

More than 4,000 athletes and official guests from 212 counties are due take part in the World Championships, while over 400,000 spectators are expected to attend the event.

It is planned that the capacity of the Luzhniki Stadium, which hosted the 1980 Olympics, will be reduced from 78,000 to 50,000 for the Championships. 

Organisers claim that so far 23,000 tickets have been sold since they went on sale last month.

"We expect 50,000 people to attend every competition session," said Mikhail Butov, the general secretary of the All-Russia Athletic Federation.

"Overall, there will be 13 sessions over the course of nine days.

"We will do our best to fill all the stadium seats.

"This is our key priority."

Sergey Bubka, the IAAF vice-president, who is head of the Coordination Commission, has underlined the importance of big crowds.

"It's very important for the stands to be full," he said 

"We hope it will be the case.

"The success of the World Championships depends on how many seats we fill."

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