MOSCOW, October 6. /TASS/. Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said on Thursday he was still concerned with the progress in the construction of the football stadium in St. Petersburg, one the 11 cities across Russia selected to host matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
"The key target is to put all stadiums in operation according to the schedule," Mutko, who is also the president of the Russian Football Union (RFU), said. "St. Petersburg still raises concerns - it is not in the red zone (of alarm), but in yellow."
"We will gather all controlling bodies on October 17 and will talk as we need to dot the i’s and see what issues remain to be resolved," Mutko added.
The construction of the stadium 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.
Two months ago the contract with Inzhtransstroy-SPb was severed and the authorities of St. Petersburg signed a deal with a new general contractor - Metrostroy.
The stadium 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 ($702.1 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.