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MOSCOW, January 29. /TASS/. Russia’s construction costs for football stadiums, which will be hosting matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, are on the increase and the government has ordered the Ministry of Industry and Trade to look into the legitimacy of price increases, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said on Thursday.
"First of all, we need to analyze how fair the prices are and the legitimacy of concrete prices increase," Mutko said. "The Ministry of Industry and Trade received a relevant order, it already works on it, collecting data from all contractors on the legitimacy of prices increase and possible reduction of costs."
He said, however, that the stadiums’ capacity would not be reduced from 45,000 to 35,000 seats.
"We have already received two 35,000-seat capacity stadiums," Mutko said. "FIFA is not giving us any other concessions and all stadiums must have 45,000-seat capacity."
The Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) announced in August that it allowed Russia to have two 35,000-seat capacity stadiums for holding matches of the global football event.
"We have ordered contractors to consider financial adjustments to the project," he said. "They will be minor changes," he said.
The Russian sports minister also said that Russia would cut its budget spending on the organization of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, but would keep its expenditures on the infrastructure and stadium construction unchanged.
According to the minister, financial programs of all departments involved in the organization of the global football championship were slashed by 10%, excluding spending items on the infrastructure.
"We are speaking here about certain organizational issues, subsidies to the organization committee and preparations for the drawing ceremony," Mutko told journalists. "All infrastructure investments remain unchanged."
Late last month Mutko stated that Russia’s construction costs for football stadiums, which will be hosting matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, remained unaffected by the national currency exchange rate volatility.
Russia’s ruble has slumped over the past few months to a record low of 75 rubles to the dollar in mid-December, compared to an average of 38 rubles in September, but rebounded to 53.23 by late December. The Russian currency currently stands at 69 rubles to dollar. It was traded at 33 rubles to the dollar at the start of 2014.
The total budget of 664.1 billion rubles for the organization of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia was announced in 2012. This figure stood at $20.5 billion based on the 2012 average exchange rate. If converted to the current exchange rate this figure drops to $9.6 billion.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said last August that the number of 12 stadiums in a total of 11 cities selected to host the World Cup would not be changed. The Russian president said, however, that in terms of financial spending on the World Cup preparations for Russia would be an "uneasy story," but manageable.
Russia won the bid to host the 2018 World Cup four 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.
Russia selected 11 host cities to be the venues for the matches of the 2018 World Cup and they are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.
The matches of the 2018 World Cup will be held between June 14 and July 15 at 12 stadiums located in the 11 mentioned above cities across Russia. Two of the stadiums are located in the Russian capital.