VOLGOGRAD, April 3. /TASS/. The Russian southern city of Volgograd, selected among a total of 11 cities across the country to host the games of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, is in need of investments for large-scale reconstructions ahead of the global football tournament, Russian First Vice Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said on Friday.
According to Shuvalov, who is currently heading a government delegation to the historic city on the Volga River, Volgograd is in a complicated situation, needs investments and new forms of administration.
"The government is ready to provide support," Shuvalov said. "We have to do everything in a new way. We are here to seriously discuss how Volgograd should be preparing for the World Cup."
The official said that the delegation would have to present President Vladimir Putin with a report of their visit and to point out the facilities, which need the state budget allocations for restoration and reconstruction.
During the visit Shuvalov pointed out it was necessary to speed up the construction of the football stadium and to renovate the exterior of all buildings facing the Mamayev Kurgan, which is a dominant height overlooking the city and is crowned with the world-famous monument, The Motherland Calls. It was erected to commemorate one of the bloodiest WWII battles known as the Battle of Stalingrad.
The new 45,000-seats capacity Pobeda (Victory) Arena for the 2018 World Cup was planned to be constructed on the site of the current Central Stadium, which was built in 1962 and is home for Rotor Volgograd FC. The dismantling of the Central Stadium was launched in mid-October and the estimated construction cost of the new arena stands at $420 million.
Volgograd, formerly known as Stalingrad, is a city of over a one million population stretching alongside the Volga River. The city and the surrounding areas were the scene of the heaviest battles of World War II and the Battle of Stalingrad is considered to be the turning point in the war.
An area of over 20 hectares (almost 50 acres) was allocated for the construction of the new stadium and parking sites almost in the heart of the city, while the Pobeda Arena itself will be occupying an area of some 124,000 square meters (30.6 acres).
Sergey Strizh, the chief engineer for the stadium’s construction, said in October that one of the most daring challenges would be to demolish within the 2.5-months period the Central Stadium in the center of Volgograd.
Russia is currently gearing up for the Preliminary Draw, which is the first major kick-off event ahead of the global tournament itself.
The draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Preliminary Competition will be held on July 25 in Russia’s second largest city of St. Petersburg with a total of 208 nations having signed up for the participation in the event.
It will be for the first time in the history of World Cups, when all national teams registered for the Preliminary Draw. Russia as the hosting nation automatically qualified for the championship and therefore is not taking part in the preliminary competition.
The first major kick-start event of the 2018 World Cup will be held at the historic Konstantinovsky Palace, a stronghold of Russia’s rich culture located on the Gulf of Finland’s stunning shoreline. It used to serve in the 18th century as one of the residences of Russia’s imperial family.
Russia won the bid to host the 2018 World Cup over 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.