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MOSCOW, March 22 /TASS/. A football stadium on St. Petersburg’s Krestovsky Island may have exceeded $1 billion, Vadim Tyulpanov, head of the Russian Federation Council Committee in charge of preparations for the 2018 World Cup, told TASS on Tuesday.
The St. Petersburg authorities had allocated funds from the city budget to build the 69,000-seat Zenit Arena with a movable roof and a pullout field. The construction got under way in the western part of Krestovsky Island in 2007. Though the project has been adjusted several times, December 2016 is the final deadline for completing the construction works.
"Financial expenditures are increasing, clearly because of the rising dollar rate, and that is creating additional expenses. But when the stadium is finished, it’s going to be the best in Russia. The stadium used to cost about a billion U.S. dollars but the price must have gone much higher by now," Tyulpanov told TASS.
"We will go there [St. Petersburg] in May or June. The Confederations Cup situation will hopefully get clearer by that time," the Russian lawmaker added.
He also expressed the hope that the stadium in St. Petersburg would be finished on time. "The arena has no world analogues. It is the only stadium at the northern geographic level to have a pullout field and a movable roof. That creates additional complications. The city will host a Confederations Cup next year," Tyulpanov went on to say.
The authorities of St. Petersburg provided FIFA with guarantees that the Zenit Arena in Russia’s second largest city will be commissioned in due time, i.e. for hosting matches of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, according to Alexei Sorokin, the director general of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) Russia-2018.
"The municipal administration of St. Petersburg provided FIFA with written guarantees that the stadium on the Krestovsky Island will be commissioned in time," Sorokin said in an interview with TASS. "We have no reasons not to believe them."
The 69,000-seat Zenit Arena is one of the 12 stadiums in 11 cities across Russia to host the matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The estimated cost of the construction, which began in 2006, stands at 34.9 billion rubles (some $450 million).
Media reports in mid-January alleged that FIFA could deny St. Petersburg the right of hosting the matches of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup at the Zenit Arena as the construction had been delayed.
Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko denied the reports at that time saying in particular that "the issue of relocating the tournament from St. Petersburg is not on the agenda" and later announced that the stadium would be commissioned this year.
The 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup will be held between June 17 and July 2 at four stadiums in Russia: Otkritie Arena in Moscow, Zenit Arena in St. Petersburg, Fisht in Sochi and Kazan Arena in Kazan.
Five nations have already qualified for the 2017 Confederations Cup. Three more nations will be determined following the 2016 UEFA Euro Cup, the OFC (Oceania Football Confederation) Nations Cup and 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.