MOSCOW, April 17. /TASS/. The construction of football stadiums in the Russian cities of Volgograd and Nizhny Novgorod, selected to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup matches, will be completed in September of 2017, two months ahead of the schedule, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko told TASS on Friday.
The Russian organizing committee of the 2018 World cup held a meeting on Friday to discuss the preparations for the global football championship.
"Reports on the construction of each stadium in the country were delivered at the meeting," Mutko said in an interview with TASS. "We have concluded that the construction dates for the stadiums in Volgograd and Nizhny Novgorod can be shortened. In other words, they will be ready not in November 2017 [as it was initially scheduled] but in December."
Earlier in the month Mutko said that the Russian southern city of Volgograd, selected among the total of 11 cities across the country to host the games of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, will be the venue of five or six group stage matches of the global football tournament.
The new 45,000-seats capacity Pobeda (Victory) Arena for the 2018 World Cup will 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 Staligrad, 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).
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.