MOSCOW: Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko has warned 2018 World Cup host cities that they could be dropped from the schedule unless they speed up preparatory work.

All but one of the 12 venues involve new-builds or major redevelopments in a project costing $20bn – including private sector contributions and associated infrastructure. However, in January seven stadia were reportedly still ‘frozen’ in design mode.

Mutko’s impatience erupted, according to the R-Sport news agency, at a meeting with regional leaders.

He said: “The pace of designing the stadiums gives cause for alarm. Deadlines are being broken, there are problems in every region.”

Mutko said each of the 11 regions building stadiums is being given a $98.4m subsidy to secure the locations and finalises stadium designs.

He added: “Whoever is unable to do this, let’s replace them at this early stage and everything will fall into place. Our task is that the (stadium) concepts conform to FIFA standards.”

Mutko wants to avoid Russia running any comparisons with the confused and tardy preparations in Brazil for this year’s finals. He was also unhappy at the ridicule in the international media of incomplete accommodation at the start of the Sochi Winter Olympics.

Two stadiums have already been delivered for Russia’s first World Cup, in Kazan and Sochi. Moscow’s Spartak FC Arena is expected to be operational in the summer, while work is under way once more on St Petersburg’s long-delayed Krestovsky Island project.

Construction at sites in Volgograd, Yekaterinburg, Kaliningrad, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, Saransk, Rostov-on-Don, as well as the extensive redevelopment of Moscow’s historic Luzhniki stadium, is expected to begin this year.


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12th March 2014
Mutko slams Russia’s World Cup stadium preparations

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko has said he is “alarmed” at the pace of progress in developing the country’s stadiums for the 2018 Fifa World Cup football tournament, adding that host cities could be replaced if they don’t intensify work. … [read more]

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