Following an inspection this week, the football governing body FIFA has expressed concerns over two stadiums under construction for Russia’s 2018 World Cup.
Inspectors called for "tighter project coordination" on the St. Petersburg Stadium, home of the Zenit football club, and drew attention to problems with ground water at the stadium in Russia’s Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad.
St. Petersburg city officials said the stadium there would open in December as planned, but FIFA said it would closely monitor the situation, since the stadium is a main venue for an earlier tournament, the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017.
FIFA’s statement on Wednesday, 25 May said: "Earlier this week FIFA’s Director of Competitions Colin Smith carried out stadium visits in Saint Petersburg and Kaliningrad accompanied by representatives of the Local Organising Committee for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.
"During the visit to the Saint Petersburg stadium project, FIFA expressed its concern in relation to several construction matters and highlighted the necessity for tighter project coordination.
"Following the site visit, Saint Petersburg’s city authorities reiterated that the completion date will be maintained by end of December of this year. FIFA expects feedback from the city’s authorities over the next two weeks on key areas of concern.
Given that St. Petersburg is playing a key role in the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017, FIFA will be closely monitoring.
"FIFA noted that construction of the Kaliningrad stadium is progressing according to schedule but did draw attention to the challenges relating to presence of ground water in the precinct area. City authorities have reassured FIFA that the construction projects in all areas will be delivered on schedule and any potential difficulties will be addressed accordingly. FIFA will keep monitoring the situation."
Earlier this month work on the Kaliningrad stadium and another in the city of Samara was stopped due to "serious issues".
Photograph: St. Petersburg Stadium, home of the Zenit football club, is due for completion in December. Photographed in May 2016 (Igor3188/Wikimedia Commons)