Saturday, November 25, 2017

Russia begins funding campaign to prepare for FIFA World Cup events

The Russian government has begun a funding campaign to finance its hosting of the FIFA World Cup, the matches of which will take place in 11 central Russian cities in June and July of 2018.

Current plans call for stadiums to be built or remodeled to accommodate the large groups of World Cup spectators throughout Russia, with specific infrastructural enhancement plans for the Volga region and the Ural mountainous region, ITAR-TASS reports.

The 11 cities selected to host World Cup events include Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara. Structures built for the Sochi Winter Olympic Games will be left untouched or given slight upgrades to comply with FIFA's structural guidelines.

Officials estimate that Russia will invest approximately $19.5 billion to prepare for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. One half of the sum will be allocated from the federal budget, while the remaining amount will be funded by private investment. At the conclusion of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, all facilities will become property of local and regional governments, according to ITAR-TASS.

The largest infrastructural projects to be undertaken in preparation of the 2018 FIFA World Cup will address the road networks surrounding the stadiums. Preliminary plans for the construction of new highways and elevated road junctions to manage traffic around the stadiums and provide spectators with relatively quick access to the events.

The Russian Chamber of Accounts and the Presidential Control Directorate has been placed in charge of managing the funding for the roadway improvement projects, ITAR-TASS reports.

Meanwhile, private funds will be used to construct hotels around the stadiums to accommodate spectators.

"There are not enough hotel rooms for hosting guests in Saransk, Volgograd and Kaliningrad," Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said, according to ITAR-TASS. "We have set the task of providing football fans with housing."

Saransk, the smallest of the Russian cities hosting World Cup events, will receive the largest contributions of any host city towards enhancing its stadium.

"The draft project initially envisaged a 20,000-capacity stadium, while for the World Cup we need a stadium seating of 45,000," Mutko said, ITAR-TASS reports.