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2018 World Cup Stadiums: Kazan Arena


Kazan Arena is the first open-air stadium to have been selected as one of the playing venues of FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia ™. It was completed in 2013 and served as the main venue for the XXVII World Summer Universiade; in 2015, it hosted the FINA World Aquatics Championships.

The architectural concept of the stadium Kazan Arena has been designed by the British company Populous, who famously designed arenas like London’s Wembley and Emirates, United Center in Chicago, Soccer City in Johannesburg, the Olympic Stadium in Sydney, etc.

The architectural concept is based on the image of a water lily. The stadium has a unique layout determined by its support beam spans over 120 m long and transparent roof consoles, with only eight roof supports. Thanks to this solution, the entire structure looks both airy and robust. The uncommon roof of the stadium contains more metal structures than the one of London’s Wembley Stadium. Their total weight is 12,000 tons.

The stadium played host to its first football match on August 17, 2014, a Russian Championship game of resident team FC Rubin against Lokomotiv Moscow.

Kazan Arena is a multiuse complex capable of hosting not only football matches but also entertainment shows, concerts and other cultural events.

The arena has a capacity of 45,000. The stadium includes a parking area of over 3 thousand square meters. The total area of the stadium occupies 28 hectares.

The stadium has a media room, a conference hall, VIP skyboxes and a restaurant with panoramic views of the golf, squash and tennis courts, a sports bar, the science and entertainment center, food courts, children’s football area, children’s musical academy and flight attendant school.

Fans Get Wings

Photo: Valery Matytsin/TASS

A new airport is about to be launched in the south of our country in the runup to the world football tournament that will be held in Russia in 2018.

The air harbor will commence operations in Rostov-on-Don as early as at the end of 2017 This is the only brand-new airport built from scratch in the runup to the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The airports of the other 10 host cities are undergoing renovation; also, new runways are being built.

The plan of the delivery of the southern air transport hub on the current construction site was signed by Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov, Governor of Rostov Oblast Vasily Golubev and head of Renova Victor Vekselberg. It is worth mentioning that this procedure was executed in the almost finished heated office building of Platov: the meeting of the airport’s construction management staff was held in the left wing of the airport terminal, where the construction and fit-out has been completed.

For the construction, 18 billion rubles have been allocated for the federal budget, while 907 million rubles were provided by the local budget. The projest is being funded by private investors as well. Non-budget funding will exceed 18.3 billion rubles.

Platov airport has the capacity to handle annual throughput of 8 million tourists and 70,000 tons of cargo. It has the potential to to become one of the largest air transport hubs for the south of Russia. Interestingly, Platov will replace the existing airport located in the city center. Regional authorities are also considering an express tram line construction project to connect the new airport to the city.

Another plan is to build belt highways around Rostov-on-Don.

As of now, the Ministry of Transport, along with private investors, is searching for air carriers that will use Platov as their base. Earlier, Maxim Sokolov mentioned a new airline company that is currently being developed to operate transfers within the southern region as well as flights to the central part of Russia.

The renovation of the majority of other airports is progressing according to the schedule. Interestingly, airports lacking experience in handling large numbers of tourists, have taken the trouble to train extra staff.

Mascot of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Selected!


This is probably one of the most exciting moments in the preparation of the 2018 FIFA World Cup: three candidates, a huge number of voices and finally, the winner – the official mascot of the 2018 FIFA! Meet Zabivaka, or the one who scores a goal (the “kicker,” so to say)! He is quick, dexterous and skillful. Tenacious and determined, his character is reflected in the name. He has been training a lot, sharpening his skills, and is worth being called a mascot.

On the 21st of October 2016, the mascot of 2018 FIFA was officially declared at the “Evening Urgant” talk show on Channel One: the Wolf has beaten the Cat and the Tiger. The new mascot was introduced by the Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Vitaliy Mutko who also mentioned the mascot’s name – Zabivaka.

The competition started in April 2015. At first, the fans cast the votes on a public website to select the best ten from a great variety of candidates. Then a number of students of art got involved to visualize one of the ten characters of their choice.

Three winners were announced in February 2016. Ekaterina Bocharova, the student of graphic design at Tomsk State University, created the Wolf. The Cat and the Tiger were drawn by Sophia Podlesnych from the Novgorod University of Yaroslav Mudryi and by Valeria Taburenko from the Saint Petersburg University of Industrial Technologies and Design respectively.

Voting for the mascot took place from the 23th of September to the 20th of October on the official FIFA page and in its social network accounts. On the 21st October, the final votes could still be cast on the official website of Channel One.

It is worth mentioning that the first FIFA mascot was the lion Willie from the year of 1966, kicking a ball and wearing a British flag T-shirt. The mascot of the 2014 World Championship in Brazil was the armadillo Fuleco whose name is comprised of two words: Fu meaning “futebol” and leco meaning “ecologia.”


St. Petersburg Introduces ‘Smart’ Buses to Transport 2018 World Cup Fans


Shuttle bus routes will connect the stadium on Krestovsky Island to the Moskovsky railway station, Pulkovo Airport and metro stations ‘Petrogradskaya’ and ‘Vyborg’, as well as Pulkovo Airport to the Moskovsky railway station, the press office of the Committee for Transport in St. Petersburg told “Obshchestvennyi Kontrol”.

The shuttle bus service is provided free both for volunteers (with a volunteer’s card) and for spectators on a game day (with a game ticket).

Buses for shuttle routes are supposed to be obtained as a separate purchase, to avoid the necessity to take the existing rolling stock off urban routes and affect the transportation service for citizens of St. Petersburg, the press service said.

Shuttle buses will be equipped with a bus priority system, said Dmitry Popov, top official of the traffic management department “St-Petersburg Directorate for Traffic Management”.

“The rolling stock will be equipped with GPS complexes, which will put a point of the location of the bus on our maps,” he said. “The operation mode of the nearest traffic lights on its way will be gradually adjusted for the bus to drive green with ease and comfort. ”

According to Dmitry Popov, the plan is to install the system at 89 intersections on shuttle routes.

“If the experiment proves successful, we will implement this technology on all shuttle lanes,” the chief officer went on to add. “And, if this works, the economic effect is going to be stunning”, he said.

Dmitry Popov noted that similar technologies have already been tested in St. Petersburg. For example, trams on Prosveshcheniya Ave. were equipped with wi-fi modems that communicated with traffic lights controllers. A similar system has been installed for the trolleybus on Suvorovsky Ave. However, the expert considers the system that is currently under development more complicated.

The Committee for Transport failed to estimate bus priority system installation costs. Dmitri Popov said this is about about tens of millions of rubles.

2018 FIFA World Cup Venues: Nizhny Novgorod Stadium

Construction of stadium in Nizhny Novgorod. © Stroytransgaz

Nizhny Novgorod Stadium is located in the area known as Strelka – a gaunt piece of land at the confluence of the rivers Oka and Volga. This territory covers the neighbourhood defined by Betancourt St, Volga Riverside, Dolzhanskaya and Samarkandskaya Sts. The construction site borders with the historic area of ancient buildings, including Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. This area is clearly visible from the river as well as the city center on top of the Kremlin hill.

The stadium’s design has been inspired by the nature of the Volga region – wind and water. At the same time, it has a laconic and formal silhouette prompted by its adjacency with the historic buildings. The look of the stadium is shaped by a colonnade of three-edged pillars arranged in a circle supporting the spatial metal cover structure – a visor over the lobby and the spectator stands. The stadium also has an open play area. For nighttime events, the arena has been equipped with architectural illumination. The football stadium has a layout divided into three main tiers and two levels of skyboxes.

The stadium will have a capacity of 45 thousand spectators.

After the World Cup, the stadium will be used by the football team of Nizhny Novgorod. However, the plan is to ensure efficient use of the arena after the tournament, so the stadium is considered not only as a venue of both local and international football matches, but also as a place for holding concerts, various shows, expositions. Spacious lobbies are supposed be used as a venue of various exhibitions and trade fairs, as well as family sports events. Furthermore, some areas beneath the stands will be converted for commercial use.

After the dismantling of temporary facilities the stadium makeover will include a park, tennis courts, mini football fields and parking lots.

Five Little Known Facts about Construction of Volgograd Arena


The Oblast center celebrates the second anniversary of the construction of Volgograd Arena – the main sports facility to host the FIFA 2018 World Cup in Russia ™. Construction works started in October 2014 after Governor Andrey Bocharov got actively involved in the process and, having headed the interdepartmental organizing committee for the World Cup, succeeded in catching up with the schedule.

As of now, the general contractor is yet speeding up construction works,  the FIFA delegation noted the high quality of construction with no flaws whatsoever during regular monitoring visits.

The editorial staff of, together with the contractor, has decided to recall five little known facts about the major construction site in Volgograd. So, Fact One: at the early construction stage, deminers checked the city center area for explosives to discover over 300 weapons, including a box of trinitrotoluene.

Fact Two: construction crews disposed of demolition waste from the Rotor stadium only at night time. This allowed to reduce traffic load and social tension on the First Longitudinal Roadway.

The stadium is not only about a beautiful arena and a football pitch, the most complicated stage of work was utility relocation: water main relocations, sewer line protection works, relocation of over 20 communication network lines, gas pipeline sections. Hence, Fact Three: the technological relocation of utility networks went hardly noticed by Volgograd citizens.

The Volgograd Stadium is unique in many ways, and that is proved by Fact Four: during the entire  construction period, the contractor should install about 11 thousand tons of metal structures, run more than 7.6 km of on-site utilities, as well as mount 7 km of cables for a cable-stayed roof.

The most spectacular features of the arena – the cable-stayed roof, the state-of-the-art football pitch – will appear here in 2017. Then, the stadium will get a finished look. In the meantime, only builders and a narrow group of people having access to the construction site can admire the way it looks and how its shape changes every day. Curiously, among them are … children.

Fact Five: 120 children from Volgograd children’s homes could watch the process of the construction of Vogograd Arena from inside. This visit was supported by the career guidance project Navigator.

The general contractor invites readers of  to watch the video about the construction of Volgograd Arena, where you can see construction works being carried out” at the forefront “, as well as get a glimpse into the construction project office. The video soundtrack has been provided by the Volgograd musician Alexander Zaporozhets.

Marriott Hotel to Open on Teatralnaya Square in Nizhny Novgorod in May 2017


Nizhny Novgorod, October 14. NTA-Privolzhye – a Marriott hotel is expected to open on Teatralnaya Square in Nizhny Novgorod in May 2017.

The hotel run by the international Marriott network is set to launch in December 2016, according to the Department of Industry, Trade and Enterprise of Nizhny Novgorod Oblast .

It will open as an operating hotel in May, 2017. For now, finish and equipment works are underway,  said the source.

The total investment in the hotel construction project on Teatralnaya Square is about 1,320 million roubles. Upon completion of all project works, the region will increase the pool of rooms by 178 rooms of different categories.

Earlier it was said that the hotel will be opened by the end of 2016.

As a reminder, in the run-up to the World Cup,  the 143-room hotel Courtyard by Marriott Nizhny Novgorod City Center 4 *  was opened on February, 19, the hotel Hampton by Hilton 3 * featuring 184 rooms was launched on May, 25; also, the official opening ceremony of the first five-star hotel in the region –  Park Hotel Kulibin 5 *  with 64 rooms – was held on June, 24.

Luzhniki Stadium Revamp in Moscow: Unique Features


The legendary arena with a 60-year history, Luzhniki Stadium is going to serve the venue for the opening match, one of the semi-finals and the final of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.

It took FIFA about 6-8 months to approve the Luzhniki Stadium reconstruction plan. There were a few ways to go: some offered to demolish the arena and built a completely new one in its place (as a more budget-friendly plan), others opted for preserving the historic frontages of the original building and modifying only the insides of the building. The second option was finally approved, which is hardly a surprise – Luzhniki is not just a stadium, it is a historic, architectural and sports symbol of Moscow and the whole country. So, the main goal of Luzhniki reconstruction is to construct a modern stadium complying with FIFA standards and to keep the famous look of the historic point of interest.

460 Tons of Protection

The actual work on the stadium reconstruction started in 2014. After all non-bearing parts were dismantled, there remained just walls, the canopy, bearings and some tribune elements – to maintain the stability of the stadium.

It is then when the improvements started. According to FIFA requirements, stadiums should protect viewers from precipitation and sunlight. The former stadium canopy, which was first added to the building at the end of the 90ies on the account of UEFA Cup final match, was not long enough. So, it was increased in length by 11 meters at the finishing stage of the new roof installation in March 2015. The total weight of metal framework brought from Chelyabinsk (where it was manufactured by a local plant) to Moscow is 460 tons.  To compare, the largest tip-truck in the world – BelAz-75710 – is 100 tons lighter.

The old roof, sized 230,000 sqm, got a corrosion-resistant coating and is to be covered with shock-proof semitransparent polycarbonate, which provides a robust protection, come rain or shine. By the way, the same material protects two side tribunes of the Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi.

 Natural Grass

The most interesting feature is to be found in the “heart” of Luzhniki Stadium – on the football field. It was rebuilt in summer 2016 and features natural grass, which requires special care, but markedly improves the quality of the game.

The stadium is equipped with drainage, heating, and watering systems, while agrotechnical conditions are being constantly monitored and controlled through automation and dispatch centers. Aeration drainage allows to dry out the field just in 20-30 minutes. The drainage system works 24/7 and is fullu automatized.

Marat Husnullin explains: “A football pitch is not just a field planted with grass. It is a multilayered “pie.” To maintain the quality of the grass we should always be able to air the subsoil, dewater or water it depending on weather conditions.”

The heating system will also be of help: it will increase the temperature of the pitch surface and ground, so that the playing characteristics will stay the same even in winter – the temperature of the “pie” cannot get less than 10-15 degrees Celsius.

The subsoil has been fastened with the help of artificial fibers embedded at the depth of at least 18 cm according to SIS GRASS technology. It will ensure that pieces of soil won’t be pulled out of the lawn by the players’ running during the game.

Another new feature is the cutting-edge goal-line technology: several cameras installed in the gates will keep track of the game to capture every single moment and alert the referee on the special bracelet whether the ball has crossed the goal line. It will also allow to quickly repeat any important moments of the game.

Three Thousand New Seats

The status of Luzhniki as the largest stadium in the country will be re-established with the number of seats increased by 3000, which will make a total of 81 000 seats including 300 seats for people with disabilities, 1700 VIP seats and 2000 press seats.

Previously, about 10% of seats were considered to be low visibility ones. After stadium reconstruction, all spectators will get a nice view of the pitch. The geometry of the tribunes has been improved. First of all, they are now much closer to the pitch thanks to removing the athletic tracks. Secondly, the tribunes will be located in two tiers at a steep angle, with 100 skyboxes in between (the corporate VIP loges where hot meals will be served).  The ferroconcrete construction of each tier will consist of 6000 elements.

LED Screen and HD Wi-Fi

Modern technologies will make the football matched at Luzhniki even more spectacular. Light-emitting diodes built in the stadium roof will create a huge screen to display videos, game score, participants’ flags and what not. With the top of the line picture quality, the screen will be best observed from the Vorobyovy Hills. A similar roof has been constructed for the Bolshoy Ice Dome in Olympic Park, Sochi: during the Olympic Games 2014 the display panel showed the flags of the teams and game score in real time.

First, a test display was installed on the roof to check whether the LEDs and fixtures will stand the changeable Moscow weather. According to Murat Achmadiev, the materials used for fixtures and the intervals between LEDs exclude any chance of inflammation or shot circuit.

Besides, fans will be able to download a mobile application and watch repetitions and check the match data in real time on the screens of their smartphone – all of this thanks to HD Wi-Fi.

Wi-Fi capacity has been planned based on the best world practices, in accordance with which 20-30% of visitors are using Wi-Fi at a sports venue. Thus, Wi-Fi will be available to a maximum of 30 000 users at Luzhniki.

Safety Above All

Murat Achmadiev reports that the stadium will be divided into several zones including public zones, press and welcome zones, VIP, transport and technical zones.  By the beginning of the World Championship 2018 there will be two 2-storey security screening buildings with a lobby, a screening rooms, ticket rooms and service rooms. Their fronts will be faced with large rock slabs and glazed with stained glass to look in line with the historic architecture of the stadium.

The major security principle here is the same as was already used din Sochi, during the Olympic Games 2014. It focuses on the security of whole territory of the venue, rather than on the security of certain objects.  Thus, the so-called “clean zone” will be surrounded by the security perimeter where  all client groups will be screened bringing security threats inside the “clean zone”  to the minimum.

Besides, the number of main exits will be increased from 13 to 16, which together with the emergency exits makes a total of 22 exits. Fan flows will be managed more effectively, so that people will be able to leave the building within 15 minutes after the end of the match. Such an improvement was made possible thanks to a unique system of cascade staircases covering the inner perimeter of the stadium like a net.

Luzhniki Revamp in Figures:

  • Total reconstructed area including the spectator stalls – 221 000 sqm;
  • A workforce of 2100 constructors и 29 units of construction machinery;
  • 1000 surveillance cameras;
  • 30 000 simultaneous Wi-Fi users;
  • 4000 parking slots;
  • 5,4 km of sewage pipes, 76,5 km of telecommunication cables and 57 km of heating network;
  • Stadium canopy extended by 11 meters;
  • Number of exits increased from 13 to 22.

Nizhny Novgorod Expects up to 60,000 World Cup Tourists


Nizhny Novgorod – October, 10. / TASS /. 60 thousand visitors are expected to visit the FIFA 2018 World Cup in Nizhny Novgorod, said Dmitry Brylin, Head of the municipal Nizhny Novgorod Traffic Management Center.

“Our estimates are that, in terms of transportation services, we will be dealing with about 60 thousand guests of the tournament who will probably visit the city during the World Cup. 45 thousand of them are expected to attend matches at the stadium and 15 thousand will be guests visiting the fan zone on the Minin and Pozharsky Square”, he said.

He noted that, in the runup to the 2018 World Cup, a transportation plan has been developed, complemented by a set of new routes for the FIFA client groups. “All in all, there are 46 of such routes, with the total length of 88 km, that link the main chamiponship venues – primarily the airport and the train station,” said Brylin. These routes will be served by bus shuttles and public transport, which will transfer FIFA client groups and guests of the tournament from stations to hotels and World Cup facilities.

Previously, Governor of Nizhny Novgorod Oblast Valery Shantsev declared that the region expects 3 million tourists in 2018 which is 3 times more than now (about 1 million per year).

2018 World Cup matches will be held from June, 14 to July, 15 at 12 stadiums in 11 cities of Russia: Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Yekaterinburg, Samara, Sochi and Rostov-on-Don. Nizhny Novgorod will be host six matches: four matches of the group stage, an eighth-final match, and a quarterfinal match.

Volgograd Arena Voted Best 2018 World Cup Stadium


The Hero City is winning the popular vote on the website “Rossiya2018”.

The unofficial yet popular website “Rossiya2018” focusing on the coming World Cup launched a vote where anyone can choose the best 2018 World Cup stadium. As of now, 1,938 visitors have cast their votes. Volgograd Arena is ahead of its ‘opponents’ at this stage and is staying in the lead. 16% of voters opted for the Volgograd Stadium.

This is no surprise, though. After all, Volgograd Arena is truly one of a kind.

Firstly, most of the stadiums have been built in the “open field”. Volgograd Arena is being erected in the city’s downtown area, on the site of the Central Stadium, which had to be dismantled.

Secondly, what makes the stadium unique is its cable-stayed roof which has no parallels in Russia.

“The architects’ design concept rests on the association with the local tradition of wicker weaving, as well as the idea of festive fireworks related to the celebration of Victory Day,” says Sergey Kamin, the stadium’s construction project manager. The facade of the building is shaped like an overturned truncated cone 49.5 m tall and about 303 m in diameter. The down-tapering façades are corollary to the imperative need of fitting the building compactly into the available piece of land.

At this point, the installation of the lower ‘crown’ tier is going through its final stage; then, builders will push on to new heights – start working on the second tier at the elevation of over 28 meters.

By the way, the cable-stayed system of the stadium is being manufactured in Switzerland, the other steel structures, including the compression ring and the facade, have been made in Russia. Cement, sand and concrete were supplied by local manufacturers.

Thirdly, the field will be covered with an ultramodern lawn. That will be a natural grass lawn, with synthetic fiber crosslinking at the roots level for reinforcement purposes.

“For comfortable watching of matches at the stadium, multimedia systems with increased stability will be installed. Large boards behind the goal will display all the necessary information – score, replays of highlights. Also, in case of emergency, the boards will communicate emergency information, and uninterruptible power supply systems will maintain their operation for three hours, even in case of a power outage at the stadium,” reveals Sergey Kamin.

Volgograd Arena has main in-situ concrete works already completed, stands fully built, and the major part of the facade ‘crown’ installed. At the same time, finish work is in progress. The filling of the sand foundation for the reinforced ground floor is more than half-complete. A reinforced-concrete slab is being constructed for Sector A finish floors. The construction of interior LWC partitions on the first floor of the stadium is underway.

Volgograd Arena is designed to seat 45,000 fans.

The total volume of concrete used to construct the building and the stands of the stadium is over 112 thousand cubic meters, the total weight of steel structures is about 12,000 tons, three thousand of which are temporary steel structures. The overall length of the cable-stayed steel cables of the roof system is about 7 kilometers.

On the average, the construction project involves as many as about a thousand people a day.

The stadium will host four group matches of FIFA World Cup 2018 on June, 18, 22, 25, and 28.

Сaptain of FC Rotor Volgograd Alexey Zhdanov:
“I have visited many stadiums, and I can say for sure that Volgograd Arena will become one of the best in Europe!”