The Samara Arena has become the final stadium for Russia’s staging of the 2018 FIFA World Cup to open its doors by staging a test event on Saturday.
The 45,000-seat venue, the largest stadium developed solely with the national team football tournament in mind, has been much delayed but opened for local second-tier club Krylya Sovetov Samara’s 2-1 Football National League win over Fakel Voronezh.
The test event was designed to focus on transport links and other infrastructure meaning that only parts of the stands were open, allowing around 14,000 fans to watch the match.
The Samara Arena will host six games during the World Cup, including a quarter-final, but has been hit with delays due to the complex nature of its roof design and disputes between local government officials and contractors over costs.
The Russian Sports Ministry has now granted a commissioning permit to Samara Arena ahead of this summer’s World Cup, which runs from June 14 to July 15.
“At least three test matches have been scheduled to be held at each commissioned stadium,” general director of the 2018 Local Organising Committee (LOC) Alexei Sorokin said, according to state news agency Tass. “We are now focused on the operational and not the construction aspect.
“We are not expecting surprises from FIFA and the organisation will be definitely satisfied that all stadiums were granted certificates of compliance with the required technical norms.”