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Volume 6 No. 212


St. Petersburg officials have canceled a contract with Transstroy, the developer for the $1.1B Zenit Arena football stadium, and are putting out a call for developers. “The annulment of the contract is a technical measure, aimed at ensuring uninterrupted construction of the stadium,” a spokesperson for the city’s construction committee told SBD Global. “We’re annulling the contract not because we are unsatisfied with the developer’s performance but because due to substantial changes to the projects over the last few years, the city made a decision about holding a new tender,” she said. A tender for a 12B ruble ($375.8M) contract will open around Oct. 1, and the winner will be announced in the second half of November. Both local and foreign companies can participate in the tender.

WORK WILL GO ON: City Hall insists the replacement of the developer will not have a negative impact on the work schedule or the project’s budget. Earlier, city officials said that the total cost of the project is to be 34.9B rubles ($1.1B), and the stadium, which is to host 2018 World Cup matches, is to be inaugurated in '16. The construction of Zenit Arena began in '06, but the project was revised and the capacity raised by 5,000 seats to 70,000 when Russia put the arena on its application to host the World Cup. The new stadium is being erected on the site of FC Zenit’s former home arena, Kirov stadium, built in the '50s and demolished in the mid-2000s. The construction stirred controversy when the cost of the project went up drastically from the initial 6.7B rubles ($202M). Allegations about corruption and embezzlement were made but no proof was ever found.
Vladimir Kozlov is a writer in Moscow.

Even though the World Cup "has never staged games in a rain forest, much less in the middle of the Amazon," that "is the plan for next summer," according to Sam Borden of the N.Y. TIMES. It is "an ambition that invites plenty of hurdles." What other major stadium project had to drain an “unwelcome tributary of the French River,” as project coordinator Miguel Capobiango Neto put it, "that ran through its foundation?" What other builder "has to spend multiple days on each joint that is soldered because the stifling humidity can cause steel to buckle?" What other job "has to accommodate one of the most ecologically sensitive regions in the world?" Then, "there are the concerns about how many more millions will be spent on cost overruns, not to mention what will happen to the stadium once the four World Cup games scheduled to be played here next year are completed." Despite having as many as 1,400 employees, the project "has been bogged down by the delays, cost increases and design changes that come with seemingly every significant piece of Brazilian infrastructure." German stadium designer gmp-Architekten CEO Hubert Nienhoff said although the “precise planning and implementation that Germans are credited with” might be respected in Brazil, they are “not always compatible with the existing pragmatic day-to-day business” in the country. The stadium "was supposed to cost" about 500M reais ($227M) and "be completed by July." Now, the stadium will cost at least 600M reais ($271M) and "is scheduled to be finished by December." Of course, there are some who believe the four World Cup games set for Manaus "should not be played here anyway." Former Brazilian national team player and Brazilian Congress member Romário said, "The stadiums in Manaus, Cuiaba and Natal -- they are absurd. There will be a couple games there and then what? Who will go? It is an absolute waste of time and money" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/24).

A 'NOVEL IDEA': The AP's Stephen Wade reported the stadium "may not become a white elephant after all." Amazonas state court system spokesperson Alvaro Corado said that Judge Sabino Marques "had proposed a novel idea." Quoting Marques, Corado said, "He would, perhaps, suggest to the government of the state of Amazonas that the stadium be used as a processing center for prisoners after the World Cup." Marques is "also the president of a group that monitors the prison system in the state" (AP, 9/24).

League One football club Leyton Orient's "bid to become the joint tenants of the Olympic Stadium has so far cost the club" more than £500,000 ($803,900) in legal fees, according to Tony Yorke of SPORTS DIRECT NEWS. The League One table-topper, which has amassed a maximum 21 points from its opening seven league fixtures, has now "racked up a legal bill accounting for almost 15% of the club's annual turnover." Owner Barry Hearn "had been hoping Orient would be granted the right to seek a Judicial Review of the original decision." Hearn's hopes "turned to dust when the High Court threw out Orient's legal application" on Sept. 19. Football consultant Dean Carter said, "With hindsight, Hearn may be regretting his decision to pursue this action. It's been a license for the club to burn money -- and everyone in football, with the exception of Leyton Orient -- felt there was little chance this legal challenge would amount to anything" (SPORTS DIRECT NEWS, 9/25).

Conflict has arisen again in the unified Changwon city government, composed of Changwon, Masan and Jinhae, "over where to locate the city's new baseball stadium planned for the NC Dinos baseball club," according to Seo & Kwon of the KOREA JOONGANG DAILY. The Dinos, which are using Changwon city in southern Gyeongsang as their home, "urged Changwon city government to build a new stadium in a better location" after the Korean Baseball Organization presented a study Tuesday that said the unified government's plan to build a new stadium for the Dinos is not appropriate. The KBO said that "the unified Changwon city's plan to build a 25,000-seat baseball stadium in Jinhae should be reconsidered." KBO Secretary General Yang Hae-young said, "The projected place in Jinhae can't attract enough audiences because not many people live around the region and even the traffic system isn't good enough to attract people in other regions such as Masan and Changwon." But Changwon said that "there will be no changes." City government spokesperson Lee Yong-am said, "We can't accept the KBO's demand" (KOREAN JOONGANG DAILY, 9/26).

Spanish construction company FCC and U.K.-based McLaren Construction are "considering a joint offer to build EPL Tottenham's new stadium," which is valued at €475M ($643M). The objective of the project "is to increase stadium capacity, which is currently 36,243." The new stadium "is scheduled to be built where the current stadium, White Hart Lane, is located." Tottenham is planning for the new stadium to hold 56,000, "55% more than the current stadium's capacity" (EFE, 9/25). ... F1 team Scuderia Ferrari "wants to reopen its own wind tunnel in Maranello, Italy in October and at the same time end its work in Cologne-Marsdorf, Germany." During the previous two years, Ferrari "has used the facility of former F1 team Toyota because its own wind tunnel provided wrong data" (SID, 9/25). ... Mexican entertainment company OCESA is "only waiting for the signature to have its place in the 2014 F1 schedule assured and will therefore begin remodeling the Hermanos Rodriguez racetrack." The project "for the planned modifications by German engineer Hermann Tilke has been presented to motorsports governing body FIA and was well received." Tilke's proposed design would include "a 90 degree curve which will aim to reduce car speeds after coming down the rear straightaway" (LA AFICION, 9/25). ... Madrid Mayor Ana Botella has confirmed that La Liga side Atlético Madrid will move from Vicente Calderón stadium in three years. At that time, reconstruction of La Peineta stadium, "which previously held 20,000 and is expanding to hold 70,000, will be complete," allowing Atlético to play at La Peineta beginning in the '16 season (EP, 9/25).