Russia Dismisses World Cup Doubts
Published: July 16, 2014 (Issue # 1820)
While Brazil just barely managed to get everything ready in time for the World Cup, Russia insists it wonТt have any such problems in 2018, although the country faces other issues ahead of footballТs next showcase tournament Ч 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 FebruaryТs Winter Olympics without any major organizational problems has raised RussiansТ confidence in producing a high-class tournament.
After the games, Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko told parliament that Russia would avoid the УBrazilian scenarioФ 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 MoscowТs 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 Уgave cause for disquietФ as deadlines were missed.
УThat is normal working concern,Ф organizing committee head Alexei Sorokin told The Associated Press in a recent interview. УThat does not mean we are lying down calmly and waiting for things to happen. It suggests that we are...attentive to it.Ф
Six stadiums still need to go through a design certification process before construction enters full swing.
УAll of the projects are being developed pretty much at the same speed, with one or two exceptions,Ф 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.
УWe will have also stadiums built a few weeks or months before the first whistle of the tournament,Ф he said, adding that rising building material costs and the rubleТs decline against other currencies over the last year are likely to cause cost overruns.
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