Russia boosts World Cup budget
Russia has allocated an extra £9.8 million to fund the World Cup, which is already set to be the most expensive football tournament ever.
An extra £5.8 million is being set aside for temporary infrastructure and £4 million for stadium and training-base maintenance, according to government websites.
The Kremlin has already spent more than £8.9 billion in 11 cities from Yekaterinburg in the Ural mountains to Kaliningrad on the Baltic.
That exceeds Brazil’s official spending in 2014.
But RBC reported the actual cost for Russia would be £10.7 billion after factoring in spending by regional governments, like the Chechen regime that was hosting the unsuccessful Egyptian squad.
Provincial expenditure includes road renovation, extra security, such as Cossack guards, and adding English-language road signs.
But citizens will see few of the public transport improvements that were promised.
Fifa requires seating for at least 35,000 spectators in each stadium and many of the venues are unlikely to be filled again.
President Vladimir Putin promised transport projects with rail links to every host city airport and a high-speed railway between Moscow and southern Sochi.
There was also to be a direct rail link between Moscow and Vienna but the collapse of global oil prices in 2014 stretched the budget, meaning the only transport additions were a new airport in Rostov-on-Don and extra terminals in five other cities.
Russia built 10 stadiums and renovated Yekaterinburg Arena (pictured) and Moscow’s Luzhniki, the main venue of the 1980 Olympic Games.
Yekaterinburg had a 23,000 capacity, but Fifa’s requirement that all host stadiums be able to seat at least 35,000, led to the construction of two giant temporary stands.
The stadium, which opened in 1957, is a protected landmark and its facade with columns, bas-reliefs and stucco details in the Soviet, neoclassical style had to be preserved.
So two temporary, 45-metre stands were built outside the venue to offer fans a view through holes at either end of the pitch.
The arena will now be reduced back 23,000 seats and host FC Ural Yekaterinburg.
The 30,000-seat Mordovia Arena, modelled on South Africa’s 2010 Soccer City stadium, will be able to host 10 per cent of the population of Saransk when its second-tier team plays there and Sochi’s professional club folded in 2013.
Yekaterinburg Arena’s extension. Picture credit: YouTube