The venue scheduled to stage the final of next year’s Fifa World Cup in Russia is ready to stage matches again, according to the head of the local organising committee in Moscow.
Speaking to ESPN FC, Moscow’s LOC venue manager Svetlana Bazharova said the first game will be played at the 81,000-seat stadium this November.
The stadium has been undergoing extensive renovation work in recent years to bring it up to standard ahead of next year’s tournament.
The Confederations Cup, which is currently ongoing in Russia, came too soon for the venue but the necessary upgrades have now been completed with less than a year to go before the World Cup kicks off.
“The Luzhniki is ready, and ahead of schedule,” Bazharova told ESPN FC.”It is a Fifa requirement that there are three test events before the World Cup, and we expect the first game to take place in November.
“That really depends on the team and when it wants to play, but the pitch has been in place since last year and it has undersoil heating, so there will be no problems during the winter.”
The Luzhniki Stadium, which will also host the opening match of the World Cup, is one of 12 venues scheduled to host games at next year’s event.
Meanwhile, Fifa president Gianni Infantino is said to have been impressed by another host venue, the Fisht Stadium, during a visit to Sochi.
Infantino was present as the stadium hosted Germany’s 3-2 victory over Australia on Monday.
Andrei Markov, head of the Russia 2018 organising committee’s department of site preparations and event management, said Infantino liked what he saw. “I accompanied Mr. Infantino, we went through all the zones of the stadium,” Markov said, according to Russian news agency Tass. “He was very much impressed. He liked the environment that has been created here.”