Ratings Agency Warns Russia $22B Budget For 2018 World Cup Too High
Several Russian cities hosting the 2018 World Cup "will have trouble finding the money" to build football stadiums and "improve transit links and other infrastructure," according to Lynn Berry of the AP. A report by U.S. ratings agency Standard & Poor has warned that seven of the 11 Russian host cities "will have to borrow money or receive much more support from the federal government than is now planned." S&P said unless the Russian government steps up its funding ''the current poor state of municipal infrastructure in the host cities means the standards of infrastructure at tournament venues are likely to be lower than in the past.'' The Russian government estimates the total World Cup budget at $22B, which "already is much higher than Brazil's budget" of $13.6B for the 2014 World Cup. The Russian government has also said that "it would restrict its World Cup support to sports-related construction." Russia's local governments, however, "have put the total cost" for the 2018 World Cup at up to $43B, which "includes new metro lines, roads, airports and utility upgrades." S&P said that four Russian cities "should have no trouble covering their 2018 World Cup expenditures: Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan and Sochi." Those facing the biggest difficulties "are Kaliningrad, Samara and Saransk." The report said Russia's federal and local governments may have underestimated their World Cup costs because ''budgets for large capital projects in Russia have often exceeded initial estimates.'' A reason is "Russia's rampant corruption, which is particularly high in road construction and other building projects" (AP, 4/17).