Outside the box: how old Russian stadium found room for 18,000 more fans

A heritage Russian football stadium has found a novel way to increase capacity to conform to tough Fifa capacity rules for the World Cup.

Rather than undergo an expensive revamp, it simply built banks of temporary seating outside the venue and knocked down some walls so fans could see in.

Fifa requires grounds used for the finals to have a minimum capacity of 35,000, but the stadium in Ekaterinburg in the Ural mountains could seat only 27,000.

This brilliant piece of lateral thinking bumped up seat numbers by 18,000, meaning it can host four group games without having to be rebuilt.

It saved money and kept the historic building intact (sort of).

Even better, Fifa’s fine with it.

The Ekaterinburg Arena, home to FC Ural, was built in 1957 and is one of 12 venues across 11 cities that will be used in the 2018 World Cup.

A Fifa spokesperson said: "In the case of Ekaterinburg, temporary seats are being installed in order to ensure that the renovation work would conserve the historical façade of the stadium and that maintenance costs are reduced after the Fifa World Cup.

"Inspection visits and detailed reports have shown that the temporary seats in the Ekaterinburg Arena fully comply with all safety and security requirements."

Work on the remodelling of the ground began in 2015 and is due to finish in December.

Image: The Ekaterinburg Central Stadium, with work under way on external seating (Stadium Guide)

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