July 20 – Russian President Vladimir Putin has mandated officials in St. Petersburg to speed up construction of the city’s new stadium that has been earmarked as a key 2018 World Cup venue.
Putin said the stadium – provisionally named Zenit Arena – must be built on time as he ordered officials to “adopt comprehensive measures to eliminate the gaps” in the stadium’s construction scheduling.
Putin also gave similar instructions to local authorities in Samara and Kaliningrad where two other World Cup grounds are being built.
The stadium in Russia’s second-largest city has been in construction for almost a decade, and St. Petersburg City Hall announced last Friday it had fired the general contractor over alleged cost overruns and delays. The venue is set to cost over US$620m.
Although FIFA has issued statements to the contrary, the Zenit Arena won’t be finished in time for the Confederations Cup unless it is completed by December, according to Interfax, citing World Cup committee chairman Vadim Tyulpanov.
The traditional World Cup warmup tournament is due to take place in June 2017 in Moscow, St Petersburg, Sochi and Kazan.
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