The Russian government has outlined plans to spend 16.65 billion rubles (£183.6m/€211m/$260.9m) on its legacy programme for the 2018 FIFA World Cup to ensure stadia developed for the national team football tournament do not turn into white elephants.

The government yesterday (Tuesday) finalised a draft proposal which assigns funds for the maintenance and operation of stadia following this summer’s tournament, which runs from June 14 to July 15.

It follows an initial order from President Vladimir Putin in October to finalise legacy planning in an effort to raise attendances in domestic club football and enhance player development through new youth football centres.

The AFP news agency said the cabinet’s proposal concedes that the government will have to be responsible for stadium upkeep in some of the 11 host cities until 2023.

“Keeping in mind the high cost of stadium operations and the low expected football club revenues, it is impossible to expect stadium use to be commercially viable in the next three to five years,” the government programme said.

Most of the money, 12.35 billion rubles, will come from the federal budget and be assigned to keeping stadia operational in seven of the smaller host cities.

Image: Oleg Bkhambri