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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

Wednesday, Sept. 3


Although thesand sculptures at the Peter and Paul Fortress are more centrally located and therefore more visible to the throngs of tourists, the 300th Anniversary Park of St. Petersburgs own collection closes today so fans of the classic beach activity should get there while they can.



Thursday, Sept. 4


Vladimir I. Danchenkov, Head of Baltic Customs, will be in attendance during AmChams Customs and Transportation Committee Meeting convening this afternoon at the organizations office near St. Isaacs Square at 3 p.m.



Friday, Sept. 5


Scrabble lovers and chess masters get their chance to assert their intellectual dominance at the return of the British Book Centers Board Game Evenings tonight. Held weekly on Friday nights, the event gives both board game lovers and those hoping to improve their English the chance to meet, greet and compete. Check out the centers VK page for more details.



Saturday, Sept. 6


Athletes will relish the chance to get the latest gear and try out something new at I Choose Sport, an annual event at Lenexpo forum that plans to welcome more than 30,000 people this week to the international exhibition center. Not only will visitors get to try their hand at various athletic endeavors but they will also be able to peruse equipment that can fulfill their dreams of becoming a champion.


Local KHL team SKA St. Petersburg open their season this evening at home against Lokomotiv Yarovslavl at the Ice Palace arena next to the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. See their website for a full schedule and available tickets.



Sunday, Sept. 7


Check out retro and antique cars at Fort Konstantin on Kronstadt Island in the Gulf of Finland at FORTuna, a yearly car festival that highlights the eccentricities of the Soviet automobile industry. A car race, contests and a stunt show will give visitors a chance to rev their engines.



Monday, Sept. 8


This evening marks the opening of the two-week ballet festival High Season at the Mikhailovsky Theater. Check the theaters website for more details about performances and featured dancers.



Tuesday, Sept. 9


Discuss the latest news and issues at the AmCham Hazardous Waste Management Roundtable this morning in the Tango Conference Hall of the Sokos Hotel Palace Bridge on Birzhevoy Pereulok. Starting at 9 a.m., planned topics include the Krasny Bor landfill and waste transportation between Russia and Finland.


Learn more about the citys modern architectural trends at the SPIBA Real Estate and Construction Committees meeting on the topic Contemporary Petersburg Style: What is It? Participants will get the chance to discuss whats in-demand with RBI Holdings Irina Petrova and Lubava Pryanikova, and the current state of the local real estate market. Please confirm your attendance by Sept. 5 through SPIBAs website if you wish to attend.



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