MOSCOW, August 1 (R-Sport) - Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed an order Thursday to distribute $88 million among seven regions to kickstart the stadium-building process for the 2018 football World Cup.
The money is the first tranche of a projected 250 billion rubles ($7.5 billion) the Russian government is planning to spend on the 12 arenas and their immediate infrastructure.
It is to be split between the regions of Mordovia, Volgograd, Kaliningrad, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, Yekaterinburg and Rostov, each of which is constructing a stadium either literally or practically from zero.
A statement posted on the government's website said the money was to be spent on "research and development" for the arenas.
Those cities are to host group matches when 2018 comes around; Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko has set a 14.5 billion ruble ($440 million) budget for each stadium, with capacities set at around 45,000 seats.
The government has said the total budget for the World Cup is 664 billion rubles ($20 billion), roughly one-third of which is expected to come from the private sector.
That overall figure covers everything from stadiums to airports to road upgrades, with the $7.5 billion relating strictly to the arenas.
The opening match, a semifinal and the final of the extravaganza is set to take place at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium, which will close after this month's world athletics championships to undergo an $800 million upgrade for the 2018 event.