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Russia in a rush to change World Cup pitch

Saint Petersburg (AFP) – The troublesome pitch at the 2018 World Cup venue in Saint Petersburg will be relaid for a third time, officials said on Monday.

The state of the art 68,000-capacity stadium hosted this year’s Confederations Cup final, but the pitch was so cut up it was changed ahead of the tournament.

Further work began 10 days ago to relay the surface again after the pitch deteriorated once more leaving it dangerous to play on.

During the World Cup the stadium will host group games, a last-16 game, a semi-final and the third-place play-off.

Regional politician Igor Albine said the change was necessary to deliver a pitch that could “withstand all challenges”.

Russian football has just entered its extended winter break.

Construction of the scandal-hit arena, Zenit St Petersburg’s new home ground, began in 2007 but was only finished in December last year after spiralling bills and missed deadlines.

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