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Volume 10 No. 22


Russia's sports ministry has suggested that construction of several arenas for the 2018 World Cup, financed by the government, should begin without thorough inspection of the projects. Ministry officials fear that inspections will take time and as a result deadlines may not be met. The idea contradicts an existing regulation under which all projects partly or fully financed by state budgets should go through careful examinations before any funds are released, but the ministry insists the regulations should be changed.

NEED FOR SPEED: With Russia's World Cup just four years away, several arenas planned to be constructed for the tournament are still in early preparatory stages. According to earlier reports, the federal government considers earmarking 100B rubles ($2.89B) for the construction of new football stadiums in Samara, Volgograd, Yekaterinburg, Nizhni Novgorod, Saransk and Rostov-on-Don. Decisions regarding the releasing of funds and project inspections are expected shortly.
Vladimir Kozlov is a writer in Moscow.

The fears in the run-up to England’s opening World Cup match against Italy on Saturday "have focused on the sweltering atmospheric conditions in Manaus," but the players are more concerned about "what is beneath their feet," according to Howard Swains of the LONDON TIMES. Photographs "emerged overnight, taken on a reporter’s smartphone inside the Arena Amazonia, that show a noticeably dry and bare pitch, with large areas of yellowing turf." It "is a far cry from the deep greens of the surrounding rainforest, and a long way from what the England camp might expect for a pitch before such a crucial and high-profile match." Most journalists, including the London Times’ Matt Hughes, "were not allowed into the stadium on a visit to Manaus," and so "could not examine the state of the turf first hand." However, the FIFA local organizing committee said that the grass "will be watered daily from now on" (LONDON TIMES, 6/11).

MANAUS 'IN BAD SHAPE': The London TELEGRAPH reported Carlos Botella, head groundsman for the Royal Verd company which is responsible for the turf at Manaus and six other World Cup stadiums, has conceded that Saturday’s game "will be played out on a desperately inadequate surface." Botella: "Frankly, Manaus is in bad shape. We’ve started to implement an emergency plan to try to save the field and improve it as much as possible, but I don’t think it’ll be in good condition by the weekend" (TELEGRAPH, 6/11). In London, Andy Hodgson reported the problems "are in part down to the excessive use of fertiliser." Emergency repairs "have been carried out and groundsmen are doing all they can to get the surface up to scratch for Saturday." The rest of the stadium "is not yet completely finished and it is reported that naked power cables are dangling from the walls of the changing rooms and that the car parks are not completed" (EVENING STANDARD, 6/11).

NOT TAKING ROOT: In London, Tim Rich reported the surface is made of Bermuda grass supplied by a company in Sao Paulo 1,700 miles to the south. They "were called back to treat the pitch two months ago with bare patches around the goalmouth and a thin covering elsewhere." The grass "was treated by chemical crystals but, given the apparent state of the pitch, it has not worked." While work continued outside the stadium, the authorities "had been outwardly confident that everything inside would be up to World Cup standards." However, the comment by the head of Brazil’s World Cup management unit, Miguel Capobiango, who said that "the grass buds have all taken root and have been at match conditions since the end of December" looks "way short of reality" (INDEPENDENT, 6/11). Also in London, Gary Payne reported witnesses who have inside the stadium said that "the ground is fully functional but not completely finished." Outside the stadium, workers were "still applying a final coat of asphalt, while several security doors could be seen in their packaging, still waiting to be fitted" (GUARDIAN, 6/11).

The management of Austrian Bundesliga football club Rapid Vienna "presented plans and renderings of its new 28,000-capacity stadium," which is expected to open in '16, on Tuesday, according to the KURIER. Club President Michael Krammer "received a standing ovation of the 2,000 in attendance when he unveiled details of the stadium project." The "three-hour presentation also included former and current players." The event "was put on by agency Ecker und Partner" (KURIER, 6/11). Austrian construction company Strabag will be in charge of the stadium's planning and construction process. The new Allianz Stadium was designed by German architecture company ARC-Architektur Concept.
  • 24,000 seats, including 2,500 business seats
  • 40 suites, plus two event lounges at a size of about 86,000 square feet each
  • Total construction costs (incl. demolition of the old stadium) are about €53M ($72M) (Allianz Stadium).