BY KUNLE SOLAJA.
As the 2018 World Cup approaches the 100-day countdown, there is a big race against time in stadium construction. The stadiums in Kaliningrad and Volgograd which are venues of Nigeria’s first two matches at the grand event are among those to have suffered delays in construction.
It is gathered by www.sportsvillagesquare.com that the Russian sports ministry has sued companies building the FIFA World Cup stadiums for 2.9 billion rubles ($50.8 million) over delays in constructions schedules.
The Moscow Times, an English publication reports that Russia is expected to spend $13.2 billion on the tournament, in what will be the costliest football competition in history. More than half of that will come from the federal budget, while private and state-run firms are expected to shoulder a third of the costs.
But Russia’s sports ministry filed six lawsuits against four contractors building stadiums for next summer, the RBC business portal reported, citing court records.
It seeks to recover $17.8 million from the construction firm of Putin’s billionaire ally Gennady Timchenko, which is building stadiums in host cities Nizhny Novgorod and Volgograd which is expected to host the Nigeria versus Iceland match.
Even, efforts are still being made for the construction of Nigeria’s first match venue with Croatia in Kaliningrad to be ready. The ministry hopes to recover the rest of the sum from contractors building stadiums in Saransk, Samara, Yekaterinburg, Kaliningrad and Rostov-on-Don, over violations of “a number of obligations on construction schedules,” RBC reported.
Alexei Milovanov, the head of the Sports Ministry’s intermediary Sport-In, pledged that the lawsuits would not derail construction deadlines.
“All the stadiums will be built in line with the current and approved work schedules and will be fully ready for test matches planned for March-April,” he was cited as saying.