St Petersburg World Cup stadium passes first test
St Petersburg’s purpose-built 2018 World Cup stadium passed its first public test on Saturday after a decade in construction.
The futuristic spaceship-shaped 68,000-seater is to host seven World Cup games including a semi-final and the third-place play-off.
A crowd of 10,000 volunteers came to witness the testing of its audio and floodlight systems and to watch a motor show.
“It’s a great event,” the 20-year-old Dima Petrenko told AFP.
“And it’s very interesting to see the new arena with my own eyes.”
The St Petersburg ground will also be hosting four Confederations Cup matches, which starts in June including the final.
The other Confed Cup venues are Sochi, Kazan and Moscow.
The construction of the arena, which will also serve as a home ground for Zenit St Petersburg, began in 2007 and was finished in December though the process has been hit by spiralling bills and missed deadlines.
“First of all I came here to see on what such a huge ammount of money had been spent on,” Roman Ignatiev, 27, told AFP.
Last year FIFA inspectors discovered serious problems with the venue’s retractable pitch as they found it unstable and unsuitable for playing.
But the constructors said they will solve the problem completely within the next few weeks.
“We’ve worked out the method of increasing the rigidity of the construction,” construction company chief engineer Petr Maksakov told AFP.
“For the moment we’ve completed around 86 percent of these works. We need just 15-20 more days to finish it.”
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