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Petersburg Zenit Arena contractor accuses city authorities of work disruption

July 14, 14:53 UTC+3 ST. PETERSBURG
The general contractor also claimed that the customer represented by the city authorities had failed to pay $15.8 million
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© Evgeniy Asmolov/FC Zenit/TASS

ST. PETERSBURG, July 14. /TASS/. The St. Petersburg authorities may disrupt the timeframe of completing the construction of the Zenit Arena on Krestovsky Island picked as a venue for hosting football matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, the stadium’s general contractor said on Thursday.

"The customer represented by the city’s administration is doing everything to disrupt the timeframe of completing the project, namely, project solutions (design documentation) are absent," the project’s general contractor, Inzhtransstroy-Spb, said in a statement.

"In July 2016, the customer transferred a new package of project solutions to Glavgosexpertiza [the State Expert Review Authority]. Changes and new works under both contracts will amount to 30% of the entire volume of works envisaged in the contracts, which may require substantial adjustments to the timeframe of commissioning the stadium, considering seasonality and the technology of conducting construction operations," the company’s statement said.

The general contractor also claimed that the customer represented by the city authorities had failed to pay 1 billion rubles ($15.8 million at the current exchange rate) worth of works that had been fulfilled and compensate for loss-generating construction operations.

Also, the stadium’s budget estimate increase by 4.3 billion rubles ($68 million) has not been approved by the city authorities, the company’s statement said.

"The financial situation at the construction site is extremely complex. Strikes may begin at any moment," the statement said.

The stadium’s general contractor has sent the Petersburg authorities a notice of suspending the fulfillment of the contracts over the customer’s failure to honor its commitments. At the same time, the company has said it will continue carrying out construction works at the site.

"We, as a contractor acting in good faith, will continue performing works in amounts, which the available documentation allows us to fulfill, in order to keep the construction pace," the company said.

TASS earlier citied St. Petersburg Vice-Governor Igor Albin as saying that the stadium on Krestovsky Island will be built on time.

"Works at the stadium have not been suspended. We have no doubts that the stadium will be built by December 2016. Currently, the general contractor has transferred all the documents to us and we’re studying them," Albin said.

The stadium that will host 2018 FIFA World Cup matches was laid down in the western portion of Krestovsky Island in 2007. The construction project was amended three times: in 2008, 2010 and 2013. Each time, the cost of the arena was increased from the initial estimate of 6.7 billion rubles ($268 million at the average ruble/US dollar exchange rate for 2007) to possible 43.8 billion rubles ($692 million at the current exchange rate).

TASS earlier reported that the budget estimate for the Zenit-Arena stadium construction had been raised by 4.3 billion rubles to 39.2 billion rubles ($619 million at the current exchange rate).

General contractor alleges construction site’s attempted forcible takeover

The stadium’s general contractor also alleged that an attempt had been made for the forcible takeover of the construction site.

"Yesterday evening, on July 13, several sub-contractor organizations engaged in the stadium construction, namely, the companies Leokam, Elprom and Construction Board 620 tried to disrupt the stadium’s construction on Krestovsky Island," the general contractor’s press office reported.

According to the general contractor, trucks blocked motor vehicle approaches and representatives of sub-contractor organizations obstructed construction workers to get to their workplaces.

After police and prosecutors arrived at the scene, the situation was reportedly brought under control.

"All the reports that the situation was allegedly settled by interference of the city administration’s representatives have nothing to do with reality," the general contractor said in a statement.

The company further claimed that the St. Petersburg authorities were both failing to take any measures to settle the situation and were contributing to its deterioration by spreading false information on the general contractor.

The statement released by Inzhtransstroy-Spb says that media reports about the alleged strike at the stadium’s construction site on Wednesday do not reflect the situation correctly. The forcible actions that took place can be qualified as an attempt to disrupt the timeframe of completing the stadium’s construction, which were initiated with the participation of some city administration representatives, the company alleged.

TASS has not yet received any official comment from the St. Petersburg administration.

Zenit Arena construction workers go on strike over delayed wages

Meanwhile, TASS reported on Wednesday with reference to Petersburg Vice-Governor Albin that the workers engaged in the construction of the Zenit-Arena had gone on strike over delayed wages.

According to the city authorities, the prosecutor’s office is holding a check in wage delays.

"The general contractor’s greed has prompted this situation. Workers expressed their dissatisfaction with wage delays as wage arrears reach two months at some organizations. After a meeting with the city’s administration, people went to have a rest. The Prosecutor’s Office has started a check. The incident has been settled," Albin told TASS through the press office.

According to St. Petersburg media outlets, about 150 construction workers were on strike.

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