(WFI) The showpiece venue of the Russia 2018 World Cup is again under intense scrutiny.
Zenit St. Petersburg's new retractable-roof stadium – at $1.3 billion, the most expensive World Cup venue – lacks a building permit and violates other construction regulations.
Russia’s main auditing body detailed the violations. "During checks, a number of violations were discovered including the use of material from the demolished stadium in the building of the new stadium and the improper storage of 63,000 spectator seats at a cost of 287 million rubles ($9.4 million)," the Audit Chamber said in a statement quoted.
"In addition to that, in the period of 2006-2008, work was carried out without a building permit, and in 2010-2012, without approved project documents."
The stadium project has come under fire in recent months due to rising costs and construction delays.
In September, Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev labelled the stadium project as “disgraceful” and pledged to block any more federal government grants for its construction.
Whether or not St. Petersburg will deliver on the Russia 2018 bid book pledges remains to be seen. The city proposed to build a 69,500-seat stadium with a moveable roof and retractable pitch. The venue will host a World Cup semi-final.
Designed by Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa, it was promoted by Russia 2018 as one of the jewels of its bid book submission to FIFA.
The single biggest stadium project proposed under the bid was originally costed at around 500 million euros. This figure has rocketed to more than 700 million euros ($886 million), according to reports.
The venue is being built on the site of the former 75,000-capacity Keirov Stadium, an outdated arena constructed in the 1930s.
News source: World Football Insider
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