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FIFA head to delay-hit World Cup 2018 stadium


Moscow (AFP) – FIFA on Wednesday said work on Moscow’s flagship Luzhniki stadium for the 2018 World Cup appeared to be on course, ahead of a visit to the delay-hit arena in Saint Petersburg.

“We’re very pleased with the progress here in Luzhniki,” the major stadium for the World Cup,” Colin Smith, the FIFA chief competitions and events officer, said after checking up on construction. 

“Of course there’s still a lot of work to be done but it’s on track and on scedule.”

While all seemed on track in Moscow — which will host the opening and final games of the tournament — there are serious concerns over the crisis-hit construction of the stadium in Saint Petersburg. 

Contract disputes have seen work halted at the arena in Russia’s former imperial capital — which is due to host a semi-final and the third place match in 2018 — amid doubts that it will be completed in time for the Confederations Cup next year.   

Smith insisted that there have been some “positive signs” of progress in Saint Petersburg after a new contractor was brought in to oversee construction.

“We will go through all the details in Saint Petersburg and see it for ourselves,” he said ahead of the FIFA delegation’s visit to the city on Saturday. 

The FIFA omission will also inspect three other World Cup host cities – Saransk, Rostov-on-Don and Kaliningrad during their nine-day visit to Russia.

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