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Experts name Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow as 2017 world’s best football arena

U Arena in France and Mercedes-Benz Stadium in the United States were ranked 2nd and 3rd correspondingly

MOSCOW, March 7. /TASS/. Moscow’s historic Luzhniki Stadium, which is one of 12 stadiums across Russia selected to host matches of 2018 FIFA World Cup, was named by international experts as the best 2017 football arena, according to web source.

"It's a real pleasure to announce that Russia's national stadium and this year's (FIFA) World Cup opening and final venue becomes Stadium of the Year," website, which specializes in the evaluation of football arenas around the globe, said in its statement.

"One of just three stadiums to receive a note of 100% from any juror and the single only candidate this year to get average score of 75% of more in each category," the statement said.

The best stadium was selected by a special commission, consisting of a jury of architectural experts, who cast their votes independently of the public vote. World’s best football arenas were evaluated based on three criteria: Architectural Value, Functionality and Innovation.

"The scale and historical importance of the Luzhniki Stadium gave a highly demanding challenge to the authors of its renovation project," Maria Sipinska-Malaszynska, the only female member of this year's jury of architectural experts, was quoted as saying in the statement. "Located on historical urban axis, the stadium currently is and surely will be read as an important touristic landmark."

The top three of the 2017 world’s best football stadiums also include U Arena in France and Mercedes-Benz Stadium in the United States, which were ranked 2nd and 3rd correspondingly.

The Luzhniki Stadium was built in the Russian capital more than half a century ago and underwent reconstruction works ahead of the upcoming FIFA World Cup. In addition to hosting other fixtures, the stadium will be the venue to the opening and final matches of the world football championship.

The refurbishment of the Luzhniki Arena began in 2013 as part of the country’s preparations to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The stadium is designed to boast the capacity of up to 81,000 seats for spectators during the global football championship.

It was the second grand-scale reconstruction of the stadium, originally built in 1956. The first major repair works on the stadium took place in the run-up to the 1980 Summer Olympic Games in Moscow.

Following the recent reconstruction efforts, the athletics tracks inside the stadium were removed, the spectators’ stands are now rectangular in form and moved closer to the pitch, while the number of tiers were increased to 16 from the previous 13.

One of the main aspects of the reconstruction project was to preserve the historical facade of the stadium, which, according to FIFA, "since 1956 hosted a multitude of major sporting and cultural events, including the 1980 Summer Olympics, world championships in ice hockey, athletics and rugby and concerts featuring some of the world's greatest musical performers."

The Luzhniki Stadium’s principal affinity, however, was with football since over 3,000 matches have been played there over the years.

Russia entered on Monday the 100-day countdown stretch to the launch of the much-anticipated global quadrennial football event, which is the FIFA World Cup.

The country selected 11 host cities to be the venues for the matches of the 2018 FIFA 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 aforementioned cities across Russia. Two of the stadiums are located in the Russian capital.