Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko 'Alarmed' By Missed Cup Deadlines
Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said that "he is alarmed by the slow pace of designing the country's stadiums for the 2018 World Cup and threatened heads will roll if the situation is not rectified," according to R-SPORT. All but one of the 12 arenas needed for the tournament "are being entirely or practically built from scratch" in a project costing $20B, a figure that includes private sector contributions and the associated infrastructure. Seven "remained at the design stage as of January." Mutko said that "if construction is yet to begin, the arenas should at least be well into the design phase." But the reality "appears somewhat different." Mutko said, "The pace of designing the stadiums gives cause for alarm. Deadlines are being broken, there are problems in every region." Three stadiums for the tournament "are all but finished: the Kazan Arena, the Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi, and Spartak Moscow's new home, the Otkritie Arena in the capital." Zenit St. Petersburg's new arena "has suffered several delays and spiraling costs" to $1.1B in a case labeled "disgraceful" by Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev (R-SPORT, 3/12).