MOSCOW: Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said on Tuesday that renovation work on the Luzhniki Stadium, which will host the 2018 World Cup final, has now been completed.

“The reconstruction of the Luzhniki Stadium is finished. The venue has undergone examination from experts and is ready to host events,” R-Sport agency quoted Sobyanin as saying.

Sobyanin added that the reconstruction work at the stadium, where capacity has been increased to 81,000, had cost around 24 billion roubles ($410 million, 341.2 million euros).

“It is the least expensive stadium of such a class in the world,” he said.

The Luzhniki is Russia’s most iconic arena. Opened in 1956 and the main stadium for the 1980 Olympics, it will stage both the opening match and final of next year’s World Cup.

FIFA reported that the renovated Luzhniki will hold its first trial game between Russia and Argentina on Nov 10.

However, Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov said agreement about the friendly between the two countries’ football federations had not yet been finalised.

The stadium has previously hosted the 1999 UEFA Cup final, the 2008 Champ­ions League final, and the Rugby Sevens World Cup and IAAF athletics world championships in 2013.

Next year’s World Cup will take place in 12 stadiums spread across 11 Russian cities, including Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan and Sochi, the cities that hosted games at the Confederations Cup earlier this year.

Published in Dawn, August 31st, 2017

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