A contract for the completion of St. Petersburg's Zenit Arena football stadium has been awarded to Transstroy, the company that originally had the contract before it was canceled by the city last September. The contractor, owned by tycoon Oleg Deripaska, said the new contract was needed due to major changes to the original design of the stadium. St. Petersburg's authorities announced Transstroy as the winner of a tender for the completion of the stadium, which was run with little transparency. What is known about the tender is that just one more company, whose name was not disclosed, competed with Transstroy. A Transstroy spokesperson told SBD Global, "Since we won the original tender six years ago, the project has gone through substantial changes. There were FIFA's extra requirements to a stadium that was initially designed as a quality club arena but not a venue to host a FIFA World Cup semifinal."
CHANGES WERE NECESSARY: The spokesperson added, "Due to the changes, the original contract no longer complied with what actually needed to be done, and working under it was more difficult day after day. We'll make all efforts to implement our contractual obligations related to the construction of Eastern Europe's biggest and most high-tech stadium." She denied reports in some Russian media that the project could result in losses for Transstroy. "We hope to complete the project without losses," she said. Zenit Arena, which is currently 45% complete, is expected to be finished in late '15. The project's total cost is estimated at 34.9B rubles ($1.1B).
Vladimir Kozlov is a writer in Moscow.
The decision to lease the Olympic stadium to West Ham "still generates huge controversy," according to Mihir Bose of INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL. Confidential minutes of the Olympic Board, "which brought together all the stake holders responsible for London 2012, which have come into my possession show how six years ago the Board rejected Premiership football as the post-Olympic use of the stadium." Yet in '13 West Ham appears "to have secured the stadium on much the same terms" but with the tax payer having to foot a bill 100% higher, at £200M ($322M), than what it would have cost "had use of Premiership football been incorporated in the original design." The minutes "relate to the 15th Olympic Board Meeting." The Board had before it what was called "Olympic Stadium Update Report Report Number OB(15)03." This had been prepared by the Olympic Delivery Authority and its first recommendations was, "To confirm the Board's previous decisions not to proceed with a Premiership Football option" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 11/15).
Renovation work "has begun at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium," which will act as the centerpiece of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, according to SOCCEREX. The existing stadium's outer shell "will be maintained, but the structure will otherwise be completely rebuilt" at a cost of $800M. Initial plans for a 90,000-seat venue were scaled back after FIFA "approved a more modest design with a lower budget." Moscow City Hall's construction department said, "At the moment, seats and other internal elements are being dismantled." The department said that "preparations were being made for a tender on the building work for the planned 81,000-capacity venue." The Luzhniki Stadium "is set to stage the World Cup's opening match, one semi-final and the final" (SOCCEREX, 11/15).