Tuesday 02 August 2016, 22:29

Ekaterinburg on schedule for Russia 2018

The easternmost Host City of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ was inspected by top local authorities on Tuesday. An inspection committee headed up by Russia's First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov was shown around the sites set to host the competition in the city, including the Ekaterinburg Arena which is undergoing reconstruction. CEO of the Russia 2018 Local Organising Committee Alexey Sorokin was also present on the visit.

The priority in the build-up to Russia 2018 is meeting all deadlines and Ekaterinburg has encountered no issues in this regard. As expected, the stadium will be completed by the end of 2017 and the 35,000-seater venue is already beginning to acquire its defining traits. One of the most complicated stages of construction is almost finished, with six pylons having been put in place on the northern, southern and eastern stands, which once completed will support the weight of the roof. The outline of the roof is also nearing completion, while work is continuing on the entrance areas, utility services, the pitch itself, the internal architectural space and territorial planning.

Construction on the Ural Football Academy is a source of particular pride for the city of Ekaterinburg. The site will include an indoor football pitch, a stadium, accommodation facilities for the players and three outdoor football pitches.

Shuvalov made a point of acknowledging the importance of the infrastructure that will soon be available in the city: “We need to invest in young talent today. We need to seek them out and create the best conditions for their training,” he said. “A football academy is one of the best examples of how you can attract the most gifted youngsters not only from Ekaterinburg, but the whole of Sverdlovsk Oblast and even neighbouring regions.”

Another plus point for the city is Koltsovo Airport, which completed a huge renovation in 2014. The airport's terminals now spread out over 80,000m² and are able to serve up to 2,000 passengers an hour, which fully corresponds to FIFA's recommendations. Everyday, 15,000 people pass through the airport and around 50 Russian and international airlines run services into and out of Koltsovo Airport.

“The terminals are large enough to accommodate both scheduled flights and additional flights, which teams, delegations and supporters will use,” said Shuvalov. “Our guests from Europe will be pleasantly surprised by the level of comfort and customer service that Koltsovo is able to offer.”

One of the main attractions during Russia 2018 will undoubtedly be the FIFA Fan Fest, which will be set up in the Vladimir Mayakovsky Central Park of Culture and Recreation. There are plans to build lightweight covered stands big enough for 5,000 people in case of poor weather, while the entire Fan Fest will have a capacity of 17,000. A key element of the Fan Fest will be the 60m² screen that will broadcast matches from the 2018 World Cup. Interestingly, local authorities in Ekaterinburg already plan on using the Fan Fest venue in the future, with major citywide events to be hosted at the location following the conclusion of the tournament.

Finally, Sorokin offered his thoughts on how the capital of the Urals is preparing for the World Cup. “Everything is fine with the preparations in Ekaterinburg when it comes to transport and hotels, of which there is an abundance,” he said. “We do have some working questions, which we are discussing, but there are no problems. Everything is going according to plan.”