FIFA has urged organisers in Russia to speed up work on the Samara Arena after expressing concerns that the venue will not be ready in time to host matches at this summer’s World Cup in the country.
The Associated Press said that work on the stadium was already delayed due to the complex design of the roof, but progress has also been hampered by poor weather in recent months. The grass playing surfaces cannot be installed until the weather gets warmer.
Colin Smith, chief competitions official at football’s global governing body, visited the facility yesterday (Wednesday) and told reporters that “a huge amount of work” needs to be finished ahead of the national team tournament, which kicks off on June 14.
“Obviously we would expect further progress than this,” Smith said. “We don’t yet have a pitch, and obviously we need to wait for some warmer weather conditions in order to get this pitch installed.”
“There’s a huge amount of work still to be done. From the information we’ve received there’s nothing stopping all these areas being completed on time.
“It just requires commitment and more manpower to get it done on time, and when we talk about on time, we’re talking about the commissioning date of the end of April.”
Alexander Fetisov, deputy governor of the Samara region, also moved to allay fears over ongoing delays, saying that the stadium will be ready in time for the World Cup.
Fetisov said: “I’d like to avoid unnecessary dramatisation of the situation. Everything is being done so that the stadium is commissioned in the time required.”
The 45,000-capacity Samara Arena is one of 12 venues that will feature at the World Cup this summer. It is due to host four group stage games, one round of 16 match and a quarter-final.