ST PETERSBURG: Marat Oganesyan, St Petersburg’s vice-governor responsible for construction, has denied the fears of Russia’s federal audit chamber that the city’s troubled 2018 World Cup stadium may not be ready before 2017.

The new home of Zenit St Petersburg was due to have opened in 2008 but has suffered repeated delays.

Audit chamber head Sergei Stepashin had said that the best-case scenario would see the $1.1bn arena finished in late 2016 or early 2017 because the city had failed to consider “operational decisions” and damp might have set in through parts of the stadium already constructed.

However, Oganesyan has maintained the projected completion date of 2015, with the opening set for 2016, will be maintained.

According to RIA Novosti he said: “In 2016 commissioning work will be carried out so the arena can come online.”

The stadium had been projected to cost $1.3 billion, over three times its original budget, which would have seen it overtake London’s Wembley Stadium as the world’s most expensive football venue.

The figure was reduced in March and Stepashin said this should be treated as a success for his auditing operation. He said: “We’ve reduced the cost of the stadium, but it’s like Wembley, it’s very expensive.”

High-profile matches scheduled include a semi-final at the 2018 World Cup plus the opening match and final of the 2017 Confederations Cup.


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Thursday, May 23, 2013

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