Moscow: Reconstruction work at the Luzhniki Arena, one of the 12 stadiums selected to host matches of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, is in line with the schedule and the venue will be commissioned in time, world football governing body FIFAs Director of Competitions Colin Smith has said.
FIFA’s evaluation delegation is on its fourth visit to Russia between September 7 and 15. During the visit, which began here on Wednesday, the delegation along with the Local Organising Committee (LOC) Russia-2018, will stop in five Russian cities selected to host the matches of the 2018 World Cup, reports Tass.
Smith, who is in charge of the FIFA delegation’s current visit, said on Wednesday after the inspection of the construction work at the Luzhniki Stadium that the facility was granted the green status, which means that the work is in line with the schedule and the facility will be commissioned in time.
Moscow has two stadiums to serve as the venues for the global football championship, to be held in less than three years. They are the recently-built Otkritie-Arena, which opened on September 5, 2014, and Moscow’s old Luzhniki Arena, which is intended to host the opening fixture and the final match of the 2018 World Cup.
Reconstruction work at the Luzhniki Arena was launched in 2013 and after the work is completed the stadium will a seating capacity of over 81,000 seats.
This is the second grand reconstruction of the stadium, which was initially built in 1957. The first reconstruction of the stadium took place in the run-up to the 1980 Summer Olympic Games in Moscow.
Following the current reconstruction work, the athletics tracks inside the stadium will be removed, the spectators’ stand will be made rectangular and moved closer to the pitch, while the number of tiers will be increased to 16 from the previous 13.
According to FIFA’s website, one of the main aspects of the reconstruction work is to preserve the historical facade of the stadium, which since 1956 hosted “a multitude of major sporting and cultural events, including the 1980 Summer Olympics, world championships in ice hockey, athletics and rugby and concerts featuring some of the world’s greatest musicians.”
The Luzhniki Arena’s principal affinity, however, is with football as over 3,000 matches have been played there over the years.