Trou­bled St Peters­burg venue re-turfed

New Straits Times - - Sport -

MOSCOW: Rus­sian author­i­ties have be­gun lay­ing fresh turf at the prob­lem­atic new sta­dium in Saint Peters­burg, of­fi­cials said on Mon­day, less than a month be­fore it is due to host the Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup opener.

Work­ers are rush­ing to get the pitch at the 68,000-seater sta­dium fit to host Rus­sia against New Zealand on June 17 af­ter of­fi­cials were forced to scrap a fi­nal trial game over the dire state of the play­ing sur­face.

“A new grass cov­er­ing is be­ing laid at Saint Peters­burg sta­dium,” Igor Lebe­dev, a mem­ber of the Rus­sian Foot­ball Union’s ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee, told TASS news agency.

Saint Peters­burg’s news site Fon­tanka re­ported that the turf on the pitch has been partly re­moved.

The pitch is­sue is the lat­est headache to hit the US$800 mil­lion (RM3.6 bil­lion) venue in Rus­sia’s sec­ond city — which is also meant to host 2018 World Cup games.

Con­struc­tion of the arena, which will serve as a home ground for Zenit St Peters­burg, be­gan in 2007 but was only fin­ished in De­cem­ber af­ter spi­ralling bills and missed dead­lines. AFP

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