Russian President Vladimir Putin insists preparations for the 2018 World Cup will be completed on time. Some Russians are questioning whether the country can handle, let alone afford, another major project. While some don’t think it should have it at all. CCTV America’s Tom Barton reports.
“I have no doubt Russia will ensure that all works will be completed on time and of course, to the highest level. We already have a good experience of holding the largest sports competitions such as the Olympics in Sochi,” Putin said.
Sochi Winter Olympics was only supposed to cost $10 billion, but ended up costing $50 billion, making it the most expensive Olympics in history.
The 90,000-seat Luzhniki stadium, expected to host the 2018 World Cup final, is having a $540 million renovation. The overall budget for this project is estimated at $20 billion, but Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said it will breach that spending level. Critics see the risk of spiraling costs, like the Sochi Winter Olympics.
At the time of the 2009 bid, Russia’s World Cup was estimated at $10 billion. Still three and a half years away, the estimate is already twice of that.
Russians are divided over spending this much on a World Cup. Some people think, with the current internal economic situation, it is not wise to invest that much money in big games. However, others say that it is a good thing for the country.
There are other problems. Piara Power, the head of FIFA’s anti-discrimination task force, called for President Putin to speak out after a series of racist chants and incidents at football games in Russia, saying, “this has got to stop.”
Some have called for the 2018 World Cup bid to be re-run after claims of corruption in the bidding process, which Russia denies.