1st football match announced for St. Petersburg’s costly World Cup stadium

1st football match announced for St. Petersburg’s costly World Cup stadium
The first match to be played at St. Petersburg’s World Cup stadium, Krestovsky, will be between Russian Premier League club Zenit St. Petersburg and Ekaterinburg side FC Ural in April 2017, it has been announced.

The match between the two will be part of the 24th round of Russian Premier League 2016/17 matches.

Krestovsky Stadium, also called Zenit Arena, will host the opening game of the FIFA 2017 Confederations Cup and is one of the four grounds used to hold matches for next summer’s tournament, alongside Otkrytie Arena in Moscow, Kazan Arena and Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi.

Fisht Olympic Stadium – which was purpose-built for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games – will host a friendly match between Russia and Belgium on March 28. Krestovsky will also function as one of 12 stadiums across 11 Russian cities that will be used to host matches at the FIFA World Cup 2018.

The stadium has attracted attention for its budget, having been amended three times, with construction costs currently standing at 41 billion rubles ($671 million), a senior official in charge of the global tournament’s organization in Russia said on Wednesday, TASS reported.

In August, Russian Airborne Troops rejected a proposal from St. Petersburg Vice Governor Igor Albin to use the elite unit to finally complete the construction of the city’s football stadium for the 2018 World Cup.

“We would like to note that the Airborne Troops are one of the most elite combat units of the armed forces, and are designed to address the most complex and challenging tasks to ensure the security of our state. Therefore, the paratroopers do not have time for construction works, even regarding stadiums,”Albin said of the proposal.

The stadium will be handed over to Zenit at the end of this month and the club’s Premier League matches will serve as a dry run for the games at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, which will be held in Russia from June 17 to July 2.

After the game with FC Ural, Zenit have home games in the new arena against Terek Grozny on May 7, and then against Krasnodar on May 17.

Tickets for the Confederations Cup are available to buy from the official FIFA website. Fans are also required to apply for a ‘FAN ID’ to gain access to matches which also doubles as a visa for foreign fans throughout the championships.

READ MORE: Russian paratroopers reject call to finish stadium construction, say ‘no time’

The first center where fans can apply for a FAN ID opened in St. Petersburg in early December.

Spartak Moscow captain Denis Glushakov recently took part in the opening of a new Moscow Metro, especially opened for the Confederations Cup.