Russia cuts 2018 World Cup budget by 500 million euros

Published June 22nd, 2015 - 11:01 GMT

Russia cut its budget for hosting the 2018 football World Cup by about 30 billion rubles (500 million euros), the government revealed Monday, as the country struggles with an economic crisis.

The new budget, including for building or upgrading a total of 12 stadiums, is about 630 billion rubles (10.3 billion euros), according to a decree posted on the government's legal information website.

Russia's sports minister, Vitaly Mutko, assured state media on Monday that the reduction will only affect "superfluous facilities" at the stadiums - for example, the number of training centres at each stadium will be cut from four to three.

Russia's economy is struggling amid tit-for-tat sanctions with the West over the Ukraine crisis and low prices for oil, a principle export.

Russia's ruble currency has also lost about 40 per cent of its value versus the euro over the past year, driving up construction costs.

There is also the spectre of a Swiss investigation into corruption regarding Russia winning the bid to host football's most prestigious tournament.

President Vladimir Putin attested to reporters on Saturday that his country won fairly and "will host the World Cup."

Putin must be eager to showcase the country's standing on the world stage that year as he will be up for re-election a few months before the tournament.

However, the national football team is not expected to do well, as it crashed out of last year's World Cup without a single win and is in danger of failing to qualify for next year's European Championship.

Italian veteran Fabio Capello, who is reportedly the highest-paid coach with a monthly salary of almost a million dollars, is under pressure after only two wins in the last 10 competitive matches.

When Russia hosted the Winter Olympics last year it won the most gold medals. The country lavished a record 50 billion dollars on the event, amid widespread rumours of embezzlement. The initial budget was about five times lower.

© 2021 dpa GmbH

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