Moscow’s recently reconstructed Luzhniki Stadium, one of the venues for football’s Fifa World Cup in 2018, will host its first game in October.
Russian news agency Tass reported that the country’s Deputy Prime Minister and president of the Russian Football Union, Vitaly Mutko, visited the stadium and deemed it ready to host football.
“The stadium is ready,” Mutko said in an interview with Tass. “We will soon wrap up with works on the provision of public amenities near the stadium.
“This is a high-level sports arena and I hope that it would continue serving the residents of Moscow as well as guests of the Russian capital for the long time to come.”
Mutko also said that the stadium’s opening ceremony would feature a Russian national team game.
The stadium is scheduled to stage the opening game, a semi-final and the final of the World Cup, with renovation work having been ongoing since 2013 to bring the venue up to the necessary standard. The stadium now has a capacity of more than 81,000.
Luzhniki Stadium was built in 1957 and served as a host venue for the summer Olympic Games in 1980.
Meanwhile, the Local Organising Committee for this month’s Confederations Cup in Russia has bolstered security ahead of the tournament’s first game on June 17.
Vladmir Putin, the Russian President, has approved legislation aimed at limiting violence and hooliganism at football games. A bill was put forward following the violent clash between Russian and English fans in Marseille at the Uefa Euro 2016 football competition.
“Citizens who have committed gross legal violations during sporting events, demonstrated racism, set off fireworks, broken furniture, tried to start fights, are under our unwinking, constant stare,” said deputy head of the interior ministry department Anton Gusev, according to Inside World Football. “This also pertains to foreign soccer hooligans.”
Some 191 fans, including 54 spectators involved in a pitch invasion at the Russia Cup final in Sochi, have been blacklisted for the tournament.
In addition, ticket holders are required to apply for a personalised fan ID to ensure all spectators are screened.