Russian President Vladimir Putin said the world’s 12 stadiums should be reserved for football and not a concert hall or exhibition centre.
Russia, which hosted the 2018 World Cup in 12 stadiums distributed to 11 cities between June 14 and July 15, has received great acclaim from both the public and FIFA.
Russia’s efforts are underway to ensure that the facilities and infrastructure of the month-long tournament are not used for the purpose other than the purpose for which they were built.
Speaking at a meeting of government officials and sports officials at the Kaliningrad stadium, Putin said the government would financially support the World Cup facilities for another five years to ensure it could operate independently by 2024.
“You mentioned exhibitions, concerts, tourism and business areas, well, the stadium must be full,” the Russian president said of Kaliningrad’s plans to use the stadium after the World Cup.
“But the typical solution for which we have to make an effort is for each team to have a stadium and each stadium has a team to play on.”
“Otherwise, the facility will not be a stadium, but a concert hall.”
When Russia won the right to host the 2018 World Cup, Putin pledged that the stadiums to be built would become strongholds of big football clubs.
Russia has created 6 entirely new stadiums for the World Cup from a total of 12 stadiums, while other stadiums have been renovated or rebuilt.
And 6 of the World Cup stadiums are the stadiums of clubs competing in the Russian Premier League.
It will be a challenge to keep stadiums in some cities hosting the World Cup filled with the public while maintaining a sustainable financial capacity.
Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave between Lithuania and Poland, has set up a new stadium with a capacity of 35,000 spectators, but the local football team plays second in Russia.
It is still unknown how to use some facilities, prompting Putin to ask Sports Minister Pavel Kolubkov to present a plan for the future of each World Cup stadium or training stadium.
“This must be tangible, not just wishful thinking,” Putin warned.
He added that Russia was interested in expanding the use of fans’ identity cards, a mandatory document that allowed the holder to attend the World Cup, and show that he was examined and approved by the Russian authorities.
The Russian authorities also allowed the holder of these cards to enter the country without a visa.
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