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MOSCOW, July 15. /TASS/. St. Petersburg has obligations to host the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, whatever relations it may have with the contractor for the construction of a new stadium for the event, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said on Friday.
The construction of the Zenit Arena in St. Petersburg intended to host football matches of both the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2018 World Cup has been marred by numerous delays and rising costs as well as by tense relations between the city authorities as the customer and the stadium’s general contractor, Inzhtransstroy-SPb.
The St. Petersburg administration announced on Friday it had notified the stadium’s general contractor, Inzhtransstroy-SPb, about cancelling a contract with it.
Chairman of Russia’s Federation Council commission for preparations for the 2018 World Cup Vadim Tyulpanov said earlier on Friday that 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.
"We won’t interfere and oversee who the contractor is. They [the Petersburg city administration] have obligations and we hope they will fulfil them. The [St. Petersburg] governor gave guarantees and the corresponding training games and test competitions have been scheduled and the Confederations Cup must be held in St. Petersburg. I don’t see any other tasks," the Russian sports minister said.
"If they have some tactical games between the customer and the contractor, let us wait for some more time. But the contract termination is a lengthy procedure and implies judicial proceedings and the need to specify the volumes of works fulfilled. This is an uneasy issue. The arrival of a new contractor means a corresponding contract and corresponding procedures," the sports minister said.
"There are no problems with financing in St. Petersburg. They have the money and there are problems in relations between the customer and the contractor. In this case, the one who has more rights is right," Mutko said.
Petersburg administration should feel responsibility before country
"I believe that we’ll be speaking with the St. Petersburg administration about this [the situation with the general contractor] today during the day. After all, they should feel responsibility before the country. They have assumed the commitment to host the Confederations Cup and they should not let us down," the Russian sports minister said.
The stadium that will host 2018 FIFA World Cup matches was laid down in the western portion of Krestovsky Island in St. Petersburg 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.