Host cities unveiled for 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia
01 Oct 2012
World governing body FIFA has announced the 11 cities to host the 2018 World Cup in Russia, with Krasnodar proving the surprise omission from the 13 originally shortlisted for the event.
Having been divided into four geographical clusters, the host cities of Russia’s first World Cup have been confirmed as Moscow, the only city with two stadiums, namely Luzhniki and Spartak (central cluster); St. Petersburg and Kaliningrad (Northern cluster); Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan, Samara, Saransk and Volgograd (Volga cluster); Rostov-on-Don and Sochi (Southern cluster), as well as Yekaterinburg. Thirteen cities and 15 stadiums were included in the original hosting concept. Speaking earlier this month, Vitaly Mutko, Russian Minister of Sport and chairman of Russia 2018 said the potential host cities had been narrowed down into three categories according to their likelihood of surviving the final cut. The two cities to be dropped were Krasnodar in the south, the only city outside Moscow with two top-flight football clubs, and Yaroslavl near Moscow, where a 45,000-seater stadium was planned. While Mutko had previously placed Yaroslavl as one of five cities facing “problems” in their final efforts to make the cut, the Russia 2018 chief had stated he had “little doubt” Krasnodar’s case would prove successful.
All the World Cup venues are in Russia’s European territory, but the distances between them are still vast. Indeed, the distance between Kaliningrad, located near Poland in Russia’s western exclave, to Yekaterinburg, due east in the Ural Mountains, is almost 3,000km. The other major talking point in Saturday’s host city announcement came with the selection of the two venues to host games in Moscow. Of the three proposed stadiums, the 90,000-seat Luzhniki was already assured of hosting the final, but only one of two other proposed arenas could be selected. In the end, Spartak Moscow’s new 43,000-seat stadium was selected over Dynamo Moscow’s new VTB Arena – an innovative project that is set to include a 45,000-seat stadium and 15,000-capacity arena built under one roof. Speaking on Saturday, Mutko said: “The final selection of the 2018 FIFA World Cup host cities is an important milestone en route to hosting the tournament in 2018. This decision launches the full-scale preparation for the FIFA World Cup in the 11 host cities across the country. I believe all of them broadly represent the cultural and historical diversity of our nation. At the same time, their energetic nature and connection with Russian footballing tradition will allow the FIFA World Cup to leave a powerful and sustainable legacy in all of them.”
Meanwhile, Mutko has stated that Russia’s preparations for the World Cup are expected to cost US$19.2 billion, almost double the initial forecasts when the country won the right to stage the tournament in December 2010. While all 12 stadia for the World Cup will be either newly built or redeveloped, Mutko said the majority of the budget will be spent on improving infrastructure in the 11 host cities. He added that the time since Russia won the bid has allowed for a “complete revision” of costs, stating that the tournament will be financed on a 50/50 split between the public and private sector. “These are not the final numbers,” Mutko said. “You can call the figures a rough estimate. It is what is required to do everything necessary so we can stage a high-quality championships.”