Moscow to spend $8 billion on hosting 2018 FIFA World Cup

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April 22, 2014 (ISN) – Moscow will spend more than 291 billion rubles (£4.8 billion/$8.1 billion/€5.8 billion) on hosting matches during the 2018 FIFA World Cup, it has been revealed.

This figure, disclosed by Moscow City Hall, will be predominantly bankrolled by unspecified “non-budgetary sources”, with only 22 per cent to come from city funds and less than 107,100 rubles (£1,800/$3,000/€2,200) from the Federal Government.

As with the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Sochi earlier this year, much of this spending encompasses infrastructure projects indirectly associated with the tournament, as well as more direct organisational costs.

Sixty-six per cent of the budget will go on an extensive programme of transport upgrades in the city, while a further 11 per cent will be put towards sports facilities, including refurbishing the Luzhniki Stadium, which is due to host both the opening match of the tournament and the final. 

These costs for Russia’s capital are far higher than the figures quoted earlier this month by Moscow’s top sports official Alexei Vorobyov.

He claimed the total “size of financing” for Moscow’s World Cup preparations would be around 73 billion rubles (£1.2 billion/$2 billion/€1.45 billion), with around 75 per cent of that total coming from the city budget.

The opening match and the final of the FIFA World Cup will take place in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow ©Getty Images
The opening match and the final of the FIFA World Cup will take place in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow ©Getty Images

The 81,000 capacity Luzhniki Stadium hosted the 2008 Champions League final and the 2013 World Athletics Championships, as well as the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 1980 Olympics, as well as the athletics. 

It will host one of the two World Cup semi-finals, while group matches will also be held in the city at the Otkritie Arena, home of Spartak Moscow.

While the Luzhniki Stadium will not host games during the 2017 Confederations Cup, Spartak’s Otkritie Arena, along with Sochi’s Fisht Olympic Stadium, Rubin Kazan’s new Kazan Arena and Zenit St. Petersburg’s new stadium, will stage matches.

Twelve stadiums in 11 Russian cities are set to stage the World Cup the following year, and all are to be built from scratch or undergo major refurbishments, with the total budget currently set at 664 billion rubles (£13 billion/$20 billion/€15 billion).

This is double the figure initially quoted by Russian President Vladimir Putin when Russia was bidding to host the tournament in 2010, albeit only some 40 per cent of the overall spending total for Sochi 2014. 

Despite these rises in price, the preparation process is expected to be smoother than the one currently ongoing ahead of this summer’s FIFA World Cup in Brazil, where doubts still remain over whether all the stadiums will be ready in time.

But concerns over Russian preparations were raised last month by Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, who admitted to being alarmed by the slow pace of designing the stadiums.

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