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Petersburg may fail to host 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup unless new arena built on time

July 15, 2016, 12:51 UTC+3 ST. PETERSBURG

"I believe that it is wrong to change the contractor six months before the deadline", said the Chairman of Russia’s Federation Council commission for preparations for the 2018 World Cup

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A model of Zenit Arena stadium to be built in St.Petersburg

A model of Zenit Arena stadium to be built in St.Petersburg

©  ITAR-TASS/Ruslan Shamukov

ST. PETERSBURG, July 15. /TASS/. St. Petersburg won’t be able to host matches of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, if the new Zenit Arena is not built by December, Chairman of Russia’s Federation Council commission for preparations for the 2018 World Cup Vadim Tyulpanov said on Friday.

"If the stadium is not commissioned in December, it won’t be able to host the tournament in June," Tyulpanov said.

The St. Petersburg administration announced on Thursday it had notified the stadium’s general contractor, Inzhtransstroy-SPb, about cancelling a contract with it.

"I can’t advise anything to the city but I believe that it is wrong to change the contractor six months before the deadline. But if the city is confident that it will be able to comply with the schedule, then the contractor can be changed," Tyulpanov said.

"So far, the option of the transfer (of Confederations Cup matches) to another city is not being considered. We hope that the stadium will be built. There is no talk about the construction site’s additional financing," he added.

TASS reported on Thursday with reference to the stadium’s general contractor Inzhtransstroy-SPb that St. Petersburg authorities might disrupt the schedule 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 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," 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).

Russia won the bid to host the 2018 World Cup at the FIFA Congress in Guatemala on December 4, 2010. The victory came following a tight race against the bid from England, the joint bid from Portugal and Spain and the joint bid on behalf of Belgium and the Netherlands.

The country 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.

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