Sochi’s Fisht stadium, one of the venues for matches at next summer’s FIFA World Cup in Russia, is fully ready for football’s showpiece event, local governor Veniamin Kondratyev said on Tuesday.
“All the recommendations and requirements indicated by FIFA after the Confederations Cup, which was staged in Russia last summer, have been met,” he told TASS.
“We have entered the final stage. Today we can say with confidence that we have removed all the drawbacks voiced by FIFA after the Confederations Cup, and the Fisht stadium is fully ready to host the World Cup matches.
“The football pitch was renewed, the roof was dismantled and additional stands with 4,300 seats were added. So, the stadium will be able to serve more than 45,000 fans at a time,” added Kondratyev.
With just eight months to go before the World Cup begins, the preparations for the event are in full swing with eight training fields being re-fitted at team training camps and almost 5,500 accommodation places having been inspected in Sochi, a resort city on Russia’s Black Sea coast.
The Fisht arena hosted colorful opening and closing ceremonies for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, but has since been transformed into a football venue. It was tested by the national teams of Russia and Belgium in March of 2017, when the two teams played out an entertaining 3-3 draw.
The venue was also one of four stadiums that hosted matches during the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia. The tournament is seen as a warm-up to the World Cup, and was met with positive reviews from visiting fans, officials and players, who expressed their gratitude to the organizers.
Julian Draxler, who captained Germany to victory at the tournament, wrote an open letter to Russian fans and organizers following the event. The player thanked the Russian Organizing Committee, the volunteers, staff at hotels and stadiums, and Russian football fans in general.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup will be the first to be held in Russia. The competition will see 32 national teams play in 11 host cities: Moscow, Kaliningrad, St. Petersburg, Volgograd, Kazan, Samara, Nizhny Novgorod, Saransk, Rostov-on-Don, Sochi and Ekaterinburg.