MOSCOW: The last of the World Cup stadia to be completed has been opened for football business after a first test game in the new venue at Samara less than two months before the finals writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Construction had been badly delayed by funding issues and unforeseen problems over the roof.
The stadium, scheduled to stage six World Cup ties including a quarter-final, was used for the frist time on Saturday for a match between the local Samara club and Fakel Voronezh.
Only a restricted number of fans were allowed into a stadium which will ultimately welcome 44,807 at the finals.
Samara, formerly Kuibyshev, emerged in the 1950s as the leading centre of Soviet airspace and rocket engineering. The world’s first satellite and the world’s first manned spaceship, piloted by Yuri Gagarin, were launched from craft designed and built in Kuibyshev.
The Samara Arena’s design concept is dominated by the theme of space, shaped to resemble a glass dome. On July 21, 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin took part in a time-capsule ceremony marking the start of construction.
After the finals the stadium will be home to FC Krylya Sovetov. Local training venues include the club’s old Metallurg Stadium home.