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Russian football authorities mull relocating 2016 UEFA Euro Cup qualifier to Moscow

September 15, 2015, 13:41 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The qualifier against Montenegro is to be held on October 12
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© Sergey Bobylev/TASS

MOSCOW, September 15. /TASS/. The Russian Football Union (RFU) mulls a possibility of relocating the national team’s home qualifier of the 2016 UEFA Euro Cup against Montenegro from St. Petersburg to Moscow, RFU President Vitaly Mutko told TASS on Tuesday.

According to Mutko, who is also the Russian minister of sports, the 2016 Euro Cup qualifier, scheduled to be held on October 12 at the 21,000-seat Petrovsky Stadium in St. Petersburg, could be relocated to the Otkritie-Arena in the Russian capital.

"We do have such plans and a relevant step would be logical and reasonable since in that case the match would gather far more football fans," Mutko said in an interview with TASS.

Asked when the final decision on the possible relocation of the match can be expected, the RFU president said "we will inform you as soon as we make the decision."

Earlier in the month Russia surged in the standings of its 2016 Euro Cup qualifying Group G after beating 1-0 Sweden on September 5 and then crushing Liechtenstein 7-0 on September 8.

Russia is currently ranked second in Group G with 14 points, following the top-spot Austria (22 points). Moldova is in the last 6th place with 2 points below Sweden (12 points), Montenegro (11 points) and Liechtenstein (5 points). Each of the six teams in the group has already played a total of eight qualifying matches.

The recently-built Otkritie-Arena, which opened on September 5, 2014, is the 45,000-seat stadium occupying an area of 53,758 square meters (13.2 acres) and it is almost 53 meters (174 feet) high.

Russia’s previous 2016 Euro Cup home qualifier against Sweden on September 5 was held at the Otkritie-Arena and was attended by 43,768 spectators.

The official opening of the Otkritie-Arena in the northwest of the Russian capital was held on September 5, when Spartak FC played its inaugural home match against Serbian FC Crvena Zvezda. The first match of the international level was played at the Okritie-Arena on October 12, when Rusia played against Moldova in a qualifier for the UEFA Euro Cup 2016 in France.

The new stadium was constructed solely for 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 Okritie-Arena is also one of the two stadiums in the Russian capital selected to host the matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, to be held in less than three years in 11 different cities across Russia.

The other stadium in Moscow is the old Luzhniki Arena, which is currently under reconstruction and is intended, according to the Russian organizers of the global football tournament, to host the final match of the 2018 World Cup.

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