MOSCOW, November 15 (R-Sport) – Renovation work has begun on the venue for the 2018 World Cup final in Moscow, Russian officials said Thursday.
The Soviet-built Luzhniki Stadium is going to be hollowed out and furnished with new stands at an estimated cost of $800 million, with only the outer shell to be kept intact.
“At the moment, seats and other internal elements are being dismantled,” a statement from Moscow City Hall’s construction department said, adding that preparations were being made for a tender on the building work, including 81,000 new seats.
The arena, which is due to hold the opening match, a semifinal and the final, is slated to be finished just over a year before kickoff.
Original plans had a final capacity of 90,000 spectators, but the budget was reduced and world governing body FIFA approved new designs with the more modest total. There are to be 300 places for disabled people.
Luzhniki’s last major event in its current form was last month’s world athletics championships, while the last football match played there was a league game in May.
The stadium hosted athletics at the 1980 Summer Olympics and is best known in footballing circles for holding the 2008 Champions League final, when Manchester United beat Chelsea on penalties after extra time finished 1-1.
It will not be used for the 2017 Confederations Cup, which will be staged in new stadiums belonging to Zenit St. Petersburg and Spartak Moscow, the Kazan Arena and Sochi’s Fisht Olympic Stadium.
Luzhniki was built in 1956 and known as Lenin Stadium until the Soviet breakup.