KALININGRAD, August 28. /TASS/. The first trial match at the currently under construction football arena in Kaliningrad, one of 11 Russian cities selected to host matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, has been scheduled for March, a senior local official said on Monday.
Located in Russia’s westernmost enclave the city of Kaliningrad is building a completely new stadium for the 2018 World Cup on October Island. The stadium’s construction is expected to meet FIFA 2017 deadline and the new facility may be one of the cheapest built for the global championship after FIFA allowed to reduce the seating capacity to 35,000.
"The first trial match has been scheduled for March next year," Alexander Rolbinov, a deputy governor of the Kaliningrad Region, told journalists. "I cannot say at the moment who will be playing as we are in talks at the moment on this issue both with the RFU (Russian Football Union) and the Sports Ministry."
"We would like it to be a holiday for all football fans," the deputy governor added.
Russia’s old city of Kaliningrad already has one stadium. The 14,660-seat Baltika Stadium was constructed in late 19th century on money donated by philanthropist Walter Simon. At that time the stadium was located within Germany’s Konigsberg, which became Russia’s Kaliningrad after the World War II.
After hosting the Confederations Cup this summer, Russia is now in full-swing preparations to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Russia was granted the right for the football championship after clinching the bid in Guatemala in December 2010. The victory came following a tight race against a bid from England, a joint bid from Portugal and Spain and another 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 above-mentioned cities across Russia. Two of the stadiums are located in the Russian capital.