Russian Billionaire Demands More Money For 2018 World Cup Stadium Projects
The fate of the planned football stadiums in Volgograd and Nizhny Novgorod "has come into question after the billionaire owner of the company set to build the venues threatened to pull out," according to Delphine d'Amora of the MOSCOW TIMES. Gennady Timchenko, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, said that his construction company Stroitransgaz "will withdraw from the stadium projects unless the government raises its cost estimates" from 15B rubles ($420M) to at least 17B rubles ($475M). Timchenko said, "There is no way that we can fit into the proposed cost sheet, and Stroitransgaz does not work at a loss." Timchenko said that 17B rubles is "the minimum needed to break even" on the projects. Timchenko added, "They plan to allot 24 billion rubles ($670M) to the arena in Kaliningrad, 19 billion rubles ($530M) to the one in Rostov-on-Don, 17B rubles to the one in Samara, and yet in Nizhny Novgorod and Volgograd, where we are to build [the stadiums], for some reason only 15 billion rubles each" (MOSCOW TIMES, 8/4). INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL's Paul Nicholson wrote Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko "reacted quickly to comments" coming from Timchenko. Mutko was "quick to step in" to say that "speculation on the budgets was still too early until the government inspectors had completed a full evaluation of the build costs." He said that "so far the review had only been concluded for one stadium in Samara, where construction has now started." Costs "are expected" to be 15B rubles. Regarding the stadiums in Kaliningrad, Rostov-on-Don and Yekaterinburg, Mutko said that "their construction is more complicated than the others" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 8/5).