The pitch at Saint Petersburg Stadium – purpose-built to host matches at the Confederations Cup and World Cup in Russia – has finally been relaid after complaints over its quality.
Concerns about the quality of the pitch led to a Russian Premier League match between local side Zenit St. Petersburg, who became the stadium’s permanent residents in April, and FC Krasnodar being moved from Saint Petersburg Stadium to Zenit’s previous home.
Prior to that game, Zenit had played two matches at the 68,000-capacity stadium after being given the green light to host their RPL home games there at the beginning of April, and the first game took place on April 22, in which Zenit beat FC Ural 2-0.
That game followed an emotional goodbye to the club’s iconic Petrovsky Stadium, when it was announced Zenit’s match versus Anzhi Makhachkala, which ended 1-1, would be the last before the move to the club’s new home.
All the proceeds from that game were donated by the club to the families of the victims who died in the city’s metro bombing just days earlier.
However, after just two games against Ural and Terek Grozny at their new stadium, Zenit were back to play at Petrovsky when concerns arose over a “shaky pitch,” which FIFA reportedly called “unstable.”
Located on Krestovsky Island in the Petrogradsky District of the city, the stadium had its budget for completion amended three times, and reportedly cost upwards of $700 million.
The decision to relay the pitch at Saint Petersburg Stadium was taken on May 19 and was paid for by Zenit, TASS reported.
The stadium will host the opening match of the FIFA 2017 Confederations Cup on June 17 between hosts Russia and New Zealand, who will make the 26-hour flight from the Southern Hemisphere to take part in the tournament.
As well as the opening match, the stadium will play host to Cameroon versus Australia and New Zealand versus Portugal, before the tournament's final match at the stadium on July 2, which will bring the curtain down on the prelude to the 2018 World Cup in Russia next summer.
The new stadium will be one of 11 to host matches at the 2018 World Cup, also in Russia, which will be held next summer from June 14 to July 15.