A delegation of senior officials from the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ Local Organising Committee (LOC) and experts from FIFA has been visiting Saransk, where, on 20 June, as part of the process of selecting the venues that will host matches at FIFA’s showpiece event, it found out how the city is planning to prepare for the tournament.
Led by the CEO of the Russia 2018 LOC, Alexey Sorokin, and FIFA’s head of department for the 2014, 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups, Jurgen Muller, the delegation began its inspection visit to the capital of the region of Mordovia by visiting the construction site for the Yubileyny stadium, which is where the city intends to stage matches during the tournament. Construction work is already underway, and the arena will host its first matches in 2015.
The Yubileyny stadium has been designed to ensure that temporary seating can be installed in order to increase its capacity. Once it has been delivered, the arena will be able to accommodate 28,000 spectators, which is the ideal figure according to research commissioned in Saransk. By 2018, the number of seats can be increased to 45,000, in line with FIFA requirements. Once the tournament is over, the capacity can once again be reduced, with temporary seating removed and the third tier used for volleyball courts, tennis courts, gyms and a fitness centre.
Saransk’s vision for the 2018 World Cup was outlined to the delegation by the head of the republic of Mordovia, Vladimir Volkov. He stressed the enthusiasm local people feel about having the opportunity to host matches during the tournament.
Over the last few years, Mordovia’s capital has witnessed a construction boom. Several four and five-star hotels are currently being built and will be ready in the near future. In addition, Saransk, which is home to around 350,000 people, is considering the option of accommodating FIFA World Cup guests in hotels in cities in neighbouring regions, Penza and Ulyanovsk.
Saransk plans to hold its fan festival in Sovetskaya Square, in the very centre of the city. The fanzone will be able to take up to 50,000 supporters.
Summing up the visit to Saransk, the CEO of the Russia 2018 LOC, Alexey Sorokin, highlighted the speed at which the city is developing. “The cities’ preparations for the World Cup will only be getting under way in September, once we’ve confirmed the final blueprint for Russia 2018. But what I can say is that, compared to previous visits to Saransk, it’s clear that there has been major progress in the way the city looks. Where before there were construction sites, now there are apartment blocks, and where before we used to see roads being built, now we can drive along those very same roads. But then all the cities identified in our bid are developing dynamically."
The delegation from the Russia 2018 LOC will be completing its inspection tour on 21 and 22 June, with visits to Samara and Volgograd.