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Russia 2018: FIFA approves St Petersburg arena

A first match should be held in April at the new Krestovsky Stadium in St Petersburg – which is due to host matches in the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup.
This comes as FIFA deliver their blessing to the venue which is also due to host the first match of next year’s Confederations Cup, amid several cost and construction-timetable overruns.
“FIFA remains confident that the St. Petersburg stadium will be commissioned to meet all requirements for hosting the Confederations Cup and the World Cup,” the world governing body told the TASS news agency.
“The test matches are due to be held in 2017 ahead of the beginning of the Confederations Cup to evaluate the readiness of the stadium’s infrastructure and operational planning.
“The stadium will host four games as part of this tournament, as well as the Opening and Closing Ceremony.”
The stadium has received criticism for a rising budget that has increased to a current projection of around  41 billion (£549,000/$674,000/€650,000).
A new constructor, Metrostroy, were appointed in August.
But further setbacks occurred in November when a FIFA Commission discovered that the retractable playing field was unstable, producing vibration levels seven times higher than the accepted level.
FIFA had initially expressed concerns before a solution was found.
A Russian Premier League clash between Zenit St. Petersburg and Ekaterinburg side FC Ural is now due to take place at the 68,000 seater stadium on April 20.
It is hoped two more Zenit matches will then take place in May.
It is one of 11 venues due to be used at Russia 2018 and one of four for the Confederations Cup.

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