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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

Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during todays Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the centers Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonights performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Centers Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodinas website for more details.



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