Do cities need international stadiums?


Construction of a modern stadium is a difficult developer project with large-scale investments today. Successful projects, as a rule, are examples of a flexible financial scheme, rational planning and effective management. But often future cash flows revaluation, excessive ambitions and corruption turn stadium into unprofitable unfinished construction actually or a slow giant with lack of prospects on further full opportunities use.

The forthcoming FIFA World Cup of 2018 will take place at 12 stadiums in 11 cities of Russia. Within the organizers plan each stadium will run at least four football matches.

Thus the final list included only 3 cities where stadiums are already constructed and conform to FIFA requirements: it is Sochi and Kazan (initially stadiums were constructed for the Olympic Games and Universiade running respectively), and also Moscow where opening of "Spartak" FC stadium took place in September, 2014 (and reconstruction of "Luzhniki" began in 2013). In other cities, such as Volgograd, Samara, Saransk, Nizhny Novgorod, and also St. Petersburg and Rostov-on-Don, construction started or just about to start. Kaliningrad was the most difficult, but after all it remained in host cities list: the final place statement — Oktyabrsky island — was made only in the beginning of December, 2014. Thus, the city has to structure completely and then construct the project quickly. Nevertheless the "Crocus International" company which makes similar work in Rostov-on-Don already will become the contractor in Kaliningrad.

Construction of such a great number of large investment projects bears serious risks for the state: in Russian practice construction of similar projects, unfortunately, is often followed by poor money control and corruption. For example, "Zenit-Areny" construction completion in St. Petersburg which was begun before the "host city" rank receiving by the Northern capital, was repeatedly transferred, and the stadium received an impartial image of unfinished construction: corruption and the subsequent criminal cases interfered with the planned sums and terms on construction (large-scale fraud, illegal cash out of funds allocated for a new stadium construction), crisis, change of the contractor, and also the World Cup 2018 itself in connection with which the stadium project had to be changed promptly. The final term of the stadium commissioning declared in November, 2014 is May, 2016. The object will contain up to 68 thousand people (a part of other stadiums have the maximum capacity of 35 thousand people).

Nevertheless construction of so high-class stadium in the city at compliance to its real requirements (the same 35 thousand people instead of unclaimed capacity of 50–60 thousand people), and also together with such international level event running  as the FIFA World Cup in the world practice became one of serious pushes for fast development. And for this reason the Russian cities fought for the host city rank.

So, in Rostov-on-Don sporting venues will be placed on the left bank of the Don which was earlier considered unsuitable for active life and not prestigious by inhabitants, and that is worse, too wet because of the river. During the preparation for the World Cup 2018 excessive water was took away by means of special drainage channels, and the reservoir near the Grebnoy canal will receive by a new name soon ("Akvatoria") and transformed to a water sports complex for sport and rest. Also during the preparation for the World Cup 2018 training platforms and teams bases will be created, and the arriving athletes will receive repaired Rostov stadiums for trainings while the World Cup 2018 running, they are: "Lokomotiv", SKA, "Olymp-2" and "Yunost Rossii". After the WC termination the new stadium will become the main sports and entertaining platform of the million-strong city and adjacent areas. Besides, in the long term transfer of an administrative center of the city is planned for the developing left bank of the Don (design of a new Government house of area is already made). Thus, the side will have a new opportunity for development. As for infrastructure, according to the London company project it is planned to construct a new airport “Yuzhny”, the largest airport in the Russian South, the existing transport infrastructure will be upgraded, the possibility of high-speed communication with Moscow is considered.

Besides, do not forget that stadiums construction promotes sport development that will provide two components at once: health and life expectancy improvement of the population. Besides, if, for example, the regional football team becomes the constant player of the Russian and international championships, it will increase the region income due to local field competitions.

The policy of the International Football federation lies in the largest championships organization in those countries where infrastructure is insufficiently developed today at the moment. Because everything that remains in the region — both stadiums and advanced roads, both airports and objects of social infrastructure — affect its development. It is necessary only to expect that after all host cities will receive modern effective stadiums instead of slow giants with very high cost of service beyond any budget frames. Eventually in Russia there is already the experience of Kazan where it worked well.