Russia cuts World Cup spending amid economic crisis

Russia orders 560 million dollar cut in spending on 2018 World Cup amid economic crisis, saying construction of stadiums would not be affected

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The Russian government ordered $560 million (30 billion roubles) in cuts in spending on the 2018 World Cup on Monday but said the construction of stadiums would not be affected.

Russia has been forced to trim spending because of economic problems worsened by the collapse of global oil prices and economic sanctions imposed on Moscow over its role in the crisis in Ukraine.

A government decree said spending on the tournament would now be limited to $11.8 billion and Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said most of the cuts would be in the number of hotels built.

"Of course it's a question of optimising the preparations. We're primarily taking out the excess hotels," he was quoted as saying by R-Sport, which is part of RIA news agency.

Dmitry Efimov, a representative in Russia for soccer's governing body FIFA, later told R-Sport: "This is a reflection of the difficult economic situation but this should not have a negative effect on the event itself."

President Vladimir Putin says he is confident Russia will host the finals despite investigations into alleged corruption at FIFA and how Russia was awarded the 2018 finals.

"We won in a free fight and we are going to host the World Cup," he told Reuters and other international news agencies in the city of St Petersburg on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Billionaire Alisher Usmanov has given the Russian Football Union (RFS)$5.56 million to pay salary arrears owed to the coach of the national team, Fabio Capello.

Italian Capello took over as head coach in July 2012 before having his contract extended until the end of the 2018 World Cup, which Russia will host.

"As a member of the Russia 2018 Local Organizing Committee Supervisory Board, Usmanov decided to give financial help to the RFS to the tune of 300 million roubles," Usmanov's press service told the R-Sport news agency.

"Ahead of the 2018 World Cup, the question regarding the head coach is of great importance for the national football team."

The RFS was not immediately available to confirm the payment.

Usmanov, who according to Forbes magazine is Russia's richest man with an estimated fortune of $14.7 billion, earlier this year loaned the RFS$7.41 million on favourable terms to help pay Capello.

Russia were beaten 1-0 at home by Austria in their Euro 2016 qualifier earlier this month and are third in Group G with eight points after six matches.