MOSCOW, October 29. /TASS/. Russia’s allocated budget for hosting the 2018 FIFA World Cup would not be subjected to any further cuts and would remain unchanged until the much-anticipated global football tournament, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said on Thursday.
"We are not going back to the issue of optimizing infrastructure construction costs," Mutko, who is also the president of the Russian Football Union (RFU) and a member of the FIFA Executive Committee, told journalists.
"We have adjusted minimal requirements concerning the accommodation, stadiums’ capacity, training sites," he said. "The budget is final, safeguarded and there will be any further cuts."
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.