Putin has long-term focus for World Cup venues

Russian President Vladimir Putin has stressed the importance of ensuring that venues used during the recent FIFA World Cup continue as football stadia in the long term.

The World Cup concluded at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium on July 15, with France beating Croatia 4-2 in the final.

A total of 12 stadia across 11 cities hosted matches during the World Cup, with Russia having been largely praised for event organisation and security on match days.

With the World Cup now over, thoughts are beginning to turn to the long-term future of the venues, and Putin is keen to ensure that stadia do not become white elephants.

Kaliningrad is one city that had a stadium (pictured) specially built for the World Cup, with the venue to now be used for a second-tier team.

Speaking to Kaliningrad governor Anton Alikhanov about the city’s plans for the stadium, Putin said, according to the Reuters news agency: “You mention exhibitions, concerts, tourism and a commercial space. That’s alright, the stadium needs to be full.

“But ideally we need to strive for every stadium to have a team and every team to have a stadium. Otherwise it will not be a stadium. It will be a concert hall.”

Putin added that a plan needs to be put in place for each World Cup stadium – a plan that he feels should be “concrete and not only general wishes”.

Six of the 12 World Cup venues are home to top-tier Russian Premier League teams.

Image: Dmitry Rozhkov