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YEKATERINBURG, August 14. /TASS/. Authorities of the Russian Urals city of Yekaterinburg, selected to host matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, plan to spend a total of 5.6 billion rubles ($86.3 million) on the preparations for the global football championship.
Founded in 1723, the city of Yekaterinburg with almost 1.4 million people population was selected among 11 Russian cities to host the matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Most of the sum at the issue was allocated on the reconstruction of roads and the construction of the new ones, while 3.6 billion rubles would be spent on the reconstruction of several streets in the city, traffic intersections as well as the construction of a new bridge across the River Iset.
Over 614 million rubles were allocated for the reconstruction of the existing training sites, which would accommodate some of the participating teams of the 2018 World Cup. On top of all, the sum of almost 210 million rubles was spared for the organization of cultural events, which include the planned festival of football fans.
The remaining sum of the budget for the 2018 World Cup preparations is intended by the Yekaterinburg authorities for the reconstruction of two hospitals, acquisition of 10 ambulance carriages and repairs of almost one kilometer of water pipelines.
The project for the reconstruction of the Central Stadium, built in 1957, was submitted with Yekaterinburg’s municipal authorities responsible for construction works in July last year and initially envisaged a 45,000-seat capacity arena. Reconstruction plans also stipulated the demolition of the stadium and construction of the new arena in the place of the old one.
However, last year Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko announced "I cannot bring myself to demolishing this stadium."
"We would like to deal with it just like with the Luzhniki Arena [in Moscow] — to leave it in its original place and to preserve its exterior," the sports minister said at that time commenting on the possible complete demolition of the stadium. "Only the interior must be subjected to the reconstruction and its historical exterior should be preserved."
The Russian government announced in late May its decision to reduce an allocated budget for the organization of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia by 3.6 billion rubles from 664.1 to 660.5 billion rubles.
The total budget of 664.1 billion rubles for the organization of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia was announced in 2012.
In January, Sports Minister Mutko announced that Russia planned to cut its budget spending on the organization of the 2018 World Cup, but would keep its expenditures on the infrastructure and stadium construction unchanged, despite ruble volatility.
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.
In February Russia already introduced changes to the program of its preparations for the 2018 World Cup, in particular reducing the number of training sites for the upcoming global football championship and reducing seating capacity of two stadiums.
A relevant document was agreed upon with the Russian Sports Ministry as well as with the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA) and signed by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
The number of initially planned 48 pre-tournament training sites across Russia has been reduced to 37 and the seating capacity of two out of 12 total stadiums selected to host the 2018 World Cup matches has been slashed by some 22%
The two stadiums at the issue are the Baltika Stadium in Russia’s western city of Kaliningrad and the Central Stadium in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg. Their accommodating capability will be downsized from 45,000 to 35,000-seat capacity in line with the minimization of the construction costs.
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.