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Russia Dismisses World Cup Doubts

Published: July 16, 2014 (Issue # 1820)



  • President Putin, left, with FIFA President Sepp Blatter and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the World Cup Final.
    Photo: Martin Meissner / AP

While Brazil just barely managed to get everything ready in time for the World Cup, Russia insists it wont have any such problems in 2018, although the country faces other issues ahead of footballs next showcase tournament including the threat of racism and violence.

Just like in Brazil, the sheer size of Russia is set to cause logistical challenges for organizers and fans alike for the 2018 World Cup, with thousands of kilometers (miles) separating some of the host cities. But the successful staging of Februarys Winter Olympics without any major organizational problems has raised Russians confidence in producing a high-class tournament.

After the games, Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko told parliament that Russia would avoid the Brazilian scenario of massive construction delays.

Of the 12 stadiums in 11 host cities, two are complete but must be reconfigured to host football games. A third, the Spartak Stadium in Moscow, will open in September. The others, including Moscows 81,000-capacity Luzhniki where the final will be played, are brand new projects where construction has either started or will begin this year.

The Russian government insists it will complete the stadiums on time, although Mutko told local media in March that some aspects of the design process gave cause for disquiet as deadlines were missed.

That is normal working concern, organizing committee head Alexei Sorokin told The Associated Press in a recent interview. That does not mean we are lying down calmly and waiting for things to happen. It suggests that we are...attentive to it.

Six stadiums still need to go through a design certification process before construction enters full swing.

All of the projects are being developed pretty much at the same speed, with one or two exceptions, architect Peter Lavelle of the Populous firm, which designed the Kazan and Sochi stadiums and is working on the Saransk and Rostov-on-Don arenas, told The Associated Press.

But as long as projects remain uncertified, delays are inevitable, warned construction analyst Vitalie Iambla of consultancy firm PMR.

We will have also stadiums built a few weeks or months before the first whistle of the tournament, he said, adding that rising building material costs and the rubles decline against other currencies over the last year are likely to cause cost overruns.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBAs ongoing Breakfast with the Director series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at Sounds of the Universe, a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the clubs website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit Neophobia at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBAs Marketing and Communications Committees round table discussion on Government Relations Practices in Russia this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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