On 21 July a ceremony was held in Samara to mark the start of construction work on a new stadium that will host FIFA World Cup™ matches in 2018. A ceremony in which a capsule was laid in the foundations of the future arena was attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who also inspected the site where work will soon start on the construction of the stadium and addressed young students from Samara sports schools, who had come to witness the historic moment.
“Samara has chosen a magnificent place for the new stadium,” the Russian president said, addressing those gathered from the stage. “I must say that preparations for the World Cup will enable many of our cities to open up and allow their infrastructure to be developed. There is an enormous amount to be done to raise our cities to a new level, including your marvellous city. I hope this project leaves a wonderful legacy so that not only your footballers' talents can be discovered, but also the talents of those of you stood before me, to build your sporting futures, engage in sport and sporting culture – not just from event to event, but day to day.”
For the symbolic laying of the capsule, which contained messages from Samara residents to future generations, Vladimir Putin invited young sportspeople onto the stage, some of which could possibly be performing at international arenas in the coming years.
The new stadium in Samara is designed to seat 45,000 and will become the future home of the local Krylia Sovetov (“Wings of the Soviets”) football club, which regularly features at top levels of the game and has competed several times in European competitions. The Cosmos theme featured throughout the arena's architecture is not by chance – the Samara oblast (region) is traditionally considered the heart of Russia's aviation and space industries.
The stadium will be located in the Radiotsentr (Radio Centre) region in the north of the city. According to plans by regional authorities, the new site will allow local infrastructure to be developed, providing transport access as well as a new impetus to develop the northern part of the city. Completion of the stadium is expected in summer 2017.
Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, who also took part in the ceremony to mark the start of work on the Samara stadium, heaped praise on the city for its World Cup preparations. “All technical and administrative issues have been resolved and today we are starting to build the stadium. There are still key questions concerning the city's development. Visiting Samara, we have seen how the city is improving; we've looked around the airport where rebuilding work is now underway. But first and foremost is the sporting infrastructure that will be built here. Samara is football's capital on the Volga. We are looking forward to all the necessary conditions being created for footballers and teams, as well as for fans to be welcomed.”
To date, as part of 2018 World Cup preparations, two stadiums have already been completed – those in Sochi and Kazan. In September the new arena for Spartak FC will open its doors to fans in Moscow. Work continues on the stadium in St. Petersburg, which is planned to be opened by summer 2016.
Design work for the construction or rebuilding of the remaining 2018 World Cup stadiums has already been completed. Following Samara's lead, work is expected to start on stadiums in other tournament Host Cities this autumn.