MOSCOW, September 05. /ITAR-TASS/. A group of CSKA Moscow football club fans attempted on Thursday to set on fire a newly-built stadium for Spartak Moscow FC, Okritie-Arena, a day before the venue’s official opening in the Russian capital, a source in the Spartak FC security service said on Friday.
“Yesterday, just one day before the arena’s opening, a group of CSKA fans trespassed into the stadium’s territory with the aim to stage an act of vandalism and commit arson,” the source said. “Police immediately arrived at the scene and the hooligans fled. Their identities are being established at the moment.”
The construction of the Otkritie-Arena began in 2010 with an estimated cost of 14.5 billion rubles (over $402 million). The 42,000-seat stadium occupies an area of 53,758 square meters (13.2 acres) and is almost 53 meters (174 feet) high.
The official opening of the Otkritie-Arena in the north-west of the Russian capital is scheduled for Friday night, when Spartak FC will play its inaugural home match against Serbian FC Crvena Zvezda.
The new stadium was constructed solely for Spartak FC and will be also one of the venues throughout Russia to host matches of the 2018 World Cup.
Legendary Spartak FC, which throughout its almost one century-long history was 12-time USSR champion, nine-time Russia champion and holder of other numerous titles and trophies, had until recently no stadium of its own where to play home matches.
The club used to play most of its home matches at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium, another one of the 12 stadiums in 11 Russian cities selected to host the 2018 World Cup matches.
Last week Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the newly-built stadium and after a tour around the arena he said that it was “one of the best if not the best one in Europe as of today”.
Although there are still almost four years to go before the next World Cup, Putin said it was already high time to give thought to how the stadiums would be used after the global football event concludes in Russia.
Russia won the bid to host the 2018 World Cup over three years ago in a tight race against the joint bid from England, Portugal and Spain and the joint bid on behalf of Belgium and the Netherlands.
Following an official ceremony held in September 2012 and attended by FIFA President Sepp Blatter, Russia eventually selected 11 out of the earlier proposed 13 cities, excluding Krasnodar and Yaroslavl. The final list of the 2018 World Cup host cities includes Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.