Invested billions, but the stadiums were not completed

The construction of these stadiums required huge investments. There is a crack, a bald spot, and a lot of criminal cases. The world football championship has passed long ago, but in Russia they still cannot solve the problems of the stadiums built for the world championship.

But it is often not federal, but local officials who have to deal with this. At the same time, in Rostov, the now former representatives of the authorities were convicted of fraud with sand. A contractor is being tried for a similar scam in Kaliningrad.

And Samara Arena, for example, launched a lawsuit and demands to force the contractor to finish the work for which he was paid more than 20 billion rubles. But what are the chances of success? After all, formally, all the stadiums have been put into operation.

Billionaire stadiums

The FIFA World Cup was held in Russia in 2018. But the regions, which had the honor to host the matches, began preparing for this event long before that. For example, the construction of a stadium in Saransk began in 2010. True, they passed one of the last — in April 2018, just a few months before the start of the World Cup.

All in all, 6 new stadiums were built in Russia for the World Cup. These are the already mentioned Mordovia Arena and Samara Arena, as well as Rostov Arena, Volgograd Arena, Nizhny Novgorod and Kaliningrad. Their cost increased with construction and reached colossal amounts. For example, in Samara, the estimate increased from 13.2 to 24.19 billion rubles. See the cost of the rest.

Crime, bald spots, floods

At the same time, the construction of stadiums and related infrastructure in Russia took place with scandals, including criminal ones. The succession was opened by Kaliningrad.

Back in 2017, a fraud criminal case was opened there. The stadium was built on Oktyabrsky Island. The terrain is swampy, and it took millions of tons of sand and 2 billion rubles to make a stable base for a football arena there. Prosecutors and investigators said the contractor embezzled RUB 750 million by supplying cheap, low-quality sand. At the same time, not only businessmen were arrested, but also officials, including Amir Kushkhov, who served as the Minister of Construction of the region. Now this case has grown to a federal scale — the owners of the contractor company are already being tried for organizing a criminal community.

Investigators believe that similar machinations were carried out by businessmen under other major contracts related to the construction of the railway, the reconstruction of the airport and preparations for the construction of the Gazprom Arena. From the very same Amir Kushkhov, the charges were dropped, since the stadium was completed and put into operation.

A similar criminal case took place in the Rostov region. It is also associated with the use of cheap sand in the construction of a football arena. The damage was estimated at 223 million rubles. And although the «Rostov Arena» was erected and put into operation, the former Minister of Construction of the region Nikolai Bezuglov was found guilty of exceeding his official powers — he was given a suspended sentence. Similar charges were brought against the former Deputy Governor of the Rostov Region, Sergei Sidash. He also stood trial. However, there is no information about the verdict yet.

How will the use of cheap sand affect the durability of the stadiums? This issue, most likely, will be discussed when something has already happened. If it happens … Now both stadiums are working — local football teams are playing there.

FSUE Sport-Engineering acted as the developer of stadiums for the matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup and managed them until the regions were transferred.

The story of the flushing of the slope at the Volgograd Arena thundered throughout the country. It happened on the last day of the 2018 FIFA World Cup and looked terrifying. The stadium itself was flooded.

Subsequently, this was repeated several more times. No criminal cases were initiated on this matter. But Sport-Engineering was punished with a ruble. The story turned out to be difficult — its details were described by our colleagues from V1.RU. The authorities ordered a bank protection project, but this undertaking was mired in scandals. The Nizhny Novgorod stadium had similar problems. The contractor was engaged in their solution.

In Samara, they decided to follow the same scenario. Those who built it will be asked for the shortcomings of the stadium. And the contractor has already completed some of the warranty work — the reasons were very weighty. But there are so many imperfections in the stadium that I had to go to court. Obviously, the Samara arena continues to retain its status of the most problematic.

Samara Arena started to burst at the seams?

The construction of the Samara Arena was perhaps one of the most discussed in Russia. The project is complex. To make the dome corresponding to space motives, a huge number of metal structures had to be used. At this stage, problems arose. The general contractor, PSO Kazan, accused the subcontractor of its subcontractor of disrupting the timing of the installation of metal structures. They even wrote a statement to the police against the company to open a criminal case. But that did not happen. But both subcontractors were declared bankrupt.

Meanwhile, the contractor continued to fall behind schedule, for which local officials received scolding from the federal center. It was rumored that this was one of the reasons for the resignation of Nikolai Merkushkin from the post of governor of the Samara region. He was replaced by Dmitry Azarov. Here’s what he said about the preparation times for the World Cup:

— When FIFA inspectors came to us, I told them that they would be delighted with how the World Cup would be held in Samara. In response, the inspector literally twisted his finger at his temple. Like, are you a normal person in general? As a result, FIFA President Gianni Infantino visited Samara for four matches. And he was delighted with our city. This is a federal facility. The regional authorities, in principle, did not have any powers. But without the daily monitoring that we have established since October 2017, there would be no FIFA World Cup here!

The stadium was completed in April 2018 — just a couple of months before the World Cup. 6 matches took place here, including one quarter-final.

In the first years after the World Cup, everything was pretty good at the stadium, apart from the flood in the surrounding area in the spring of 2019, which washed away the tram tracks. At the Samara Arena itself, Wings of the Soviets began to play matches. In 2019, the stadium became the property of the Samara region. And it was managed by the state institution «Samara Arena». And it took two years before the public was informed that the stadium was received with a huge number of imperfections.

At the end of 2020, it became known that the Samara Arena filed a lawsuit against the general contractor for the construction of the stadium, PSO Kazan, so that the company was obliged to eliminate the shortcomings in the work. And in February 2021, a photo of the cracked beam of the dome of the sports facility was leaked to social networks.

Subsequently, it turned out that cracks had arisen in the weld on the horizontal bond. The culprit was considered a «negligent welder». Employees of PSO «Kazan» have replaced the metal structures under warranty. But, probably, in a short time they will have to go to the stadium again to finish what they did not have time for the World Cup.

— Now the Samara region is in litigation with the PSO «Kazan» in the Moscow Arbitration Court, demanding from the organization to eliminate the fixed defects and shortcomings. One of them concerns the structural monitoring system. Until now, it does not work at full capacity, only a small part of the parameters is reflected. If it worked properly, the defect that was revealed on February 18 might not have happened, since we would have seen the problem earlier, ”explained Vitaly Ivanov, director of Samara Arena.

Moreover, according to him, only the structure of the stadium has become the property of the region, without engineering networks, systems and movable property. At the same time, 1892 remarks identified by the regional commission were noted in the act of acceptance and transfer. That is, the Samara authorities have recorded construction claims. On the list are roof leaks and heating problems. We have published a complete list.

But this was not enough. The court ordered an examination of the stadium so that independent experts could express whether the Samara Arena was really unfinished because of the contractor. The results are expected in mid-April, and this will determine the decision of the arbitration. In the meantime, the administration of «Samara Arena» decided to insure itself in case the court satisfies the requirements, and the PSO «Kazan» will not do anything. They want to put the general contractor on the meter, or more precisely, the company will be fined 100 thousand rubles for each week of non-execution of the judicial act.

To billions

Experts believe that Samara Arena has a good chance of winning this trial. However, even in this case, many questions remain and, possibly, the intervention of law enforcement agencies is required.

— I have long adhered to the position that there is no need to hold championships, Olympiads, Universiades in Russia yet. First, it is necessary to raise the level of social protection of the population. In my opinion, preparing for each such international event means coming up with new expenses that you can earn on. Here is the cost of building the stadium. According to the 44th federal law, which regulates purchases for state needs, the estimated cost can increase by no more than 10%, if additional tenders are not held. If the figure is higher, then there are questions to the law enforcement agencies. At the same time, I would like to note an important thing. In 2016, when the construction of the stadium was in an active stage, the State Financial Control Department was liquidated at the level of the regional government, and the powers of the financial control department were curtailed at the mayor’s office. Probably,

According to him, the acceptance of the Samara Arena also raises questions.

— Yes, the law allows for a phased acceptance of an object. But two years have passed since the championship. Why haven’t they completed what they didn’t have time for the World Cup? Perhaps for some there is a sense of this inaction. I think that the Samara Arena administration has a good chance of winning the trial that it started. Let another person act as the customer, but during the operation hidden flaws are revealed. In addition, there is a list of shortcomings recorded during acceptance. And if other stadiums have similar problems, there is no need to wait for the results of the Samara case. You can also safely go to court and defend the interests of the budget, — said the expert.

Meanwhile, the stadium administration is looking for money to maintain such a large-scale sports facility. I had to sell the name. Samara Arena management and Solidarity Bank signed a naming agreement. Now the stadium will be called «Solidarity Arena». Other investors will also be encouraged. Moreover, the salary of the stadium director will depend on this.

What about other stadiums built from scratch?

Nizhny Novgorod: maintenance costs 300 million, and was filled three times

The main construction sites for the World Cup matches in Nizhny Novgorod are the stadium, the Strelka metro station, the adjacent microdistrict and the embankment.

Konstantin Shmigol, an activist of the Urban Projects Foundation and a former volunteer for the World Cup in Russia, finds nothing positive in the current situation in this territory.

— The embankment is lifeless, there is not a single tree or even a canopy to hide from the rain or the sun. Needless to say, it’s not very comfortable on the asphalt in the heat, either? Any rain, even the smallest, provokes a flood, — says Shmigol.

This is not to say that a large purely football stadium is popular with Nizhny Novgorod residents. His condition now also raises questions from those few fans who come to the matches of the local club, which plays in the second most important league in Russia. The official attendance of his matches last season was in the region of 6-7 thousand people, about 15% of the total capacity of the stadium. In fact, no one knows the exact number, since no one reads the tickets, but simply tears off the stubs.

— The stadium itself is designed for 45 thousand spectators, it was built in a hurry, and there were a lot of problems with it back in 2018. I don’t remember a day when the ceiling wasn’t flowing somewhere and one of the FIFA partners didn’t flood. It even got to the point that on the day of the Argentina-Croatia match, the sewer was clogged and all its contents poured into the Argentinean shower. That the problems have not gone away is obvious, the former volunteer is sure.

The stadium «Nizhny Novgorod» was filled entirely after the World Cup only three times: at the Super Cup, at the concert of «Leningrad» and at the match Russia — Cyprus. Its maintenance is estimated at about 300 million rubles. And that’s just exploitation.

— They are trying to use the area around the stadium somehow. In winter, a skating rink is flooded there, and in summer sports festivals are periodically held, at warehouses some concerts are performed, but these are all one-time actions, crutches. A sports festival on hot asphalt is very Nizhny Novgorod, — Konstantin Shmigol does not hide his emotions.

The embankment, which was built in 2018, is much less popular than its older counterparts. The activist believes that there is nothing remarkable there, except for a parking lot and a beautiful view of the upper part of the city.

Strelka metro station became problematic from the very beginning. The construction itself did not go without scandals, the general contractor was bankrupt, and according to the estimates of the Accounting Chamber, about 1 billion rubles were wasted. The commissioning of Strelka provided about 3 million passengers a year, that is, about 8 thousand a day, which is insignificant for the Nizhny Novgorod metro. Shmigol believes that this is due to the inconvenient location of the station.

— The best assessment of the legacy of the World Cup is the attendance of matches, the number of metro passengers and the number of Nizhny Novgorod residents walking along the Volzhskaya embankment. The territory is dead, nothing has changed much since 2018. There are no points of attraction for people and business near the stadium, there are not even mobile coffee shops, which are indicators of the popularity of the place. In terms of infrastructure, the World Cup has brought more problems to the city than good. Of course, at the championship itself it was very cool, it seemed that we were part of the whole world and were friends with everyone, but in the end, apart from memories, there was almost nothing left. Is that the new airport building can be attributed to a useful heritage, — sums up Shmigol.

Volgograd: the stadium suffers from every rain, storm sewers have not been completed yet

The Volgograd Arena stadium was built on the site of the legendary Volgograd Central Stadium. It was on it that Rotor Volgograd hosted Manchester United. Its demolition began in the fall of 2014. Dismantling work was carried out by LLC «Reform» from Yekaterinburg. By December, only ruins and heaps of construction waste remained from the stadium.

In March 2015, builders began digging a foundation pit for the construction of a new stadium. Its working title was «Victory», later it was renamed «Volgograd Arena». In April, the pit was ready and the contractors began pouring the concrete pad.

In 2016, during the construction of the stadium at the construction site, an unpleasant incident occurred: during the dismantling of the scaffold pillar and one of the floor slabs of the second floor, one of the supporting pillars broke, commented on the incident at Stroytransgaz JSC. There were no casualties at the construction site in connection with the incident. The builders will soon erect a new structure, which will be filled with 30 cubic meters of concrete. A working commission has been created to sort out the emergency. Most likely, this is due to the so-called «fatigue» of the metal structure. It is also possible that a technological error was made by the monoliths «SMU-11».

September 2017. Construction is coming to an end. Finishing work is underway at the stadium. A little later it became known with what match the stadium would be opened. In April 2018, Rotor, for which the stadium became the home arena, hosted the Luch-Energia club from Vladivostok. On May 2, he hosted Krylia Sovetov, and on May 9, 2018, the Russian Cup final was held at the stadium.

At the World Cup Russia hosted matches Tunisia — England, Saudi Arabia — Egypt, Nigeria — Iceland, Japan — Poland. Most of all, Volgograd residents and guests of the city remembered the meeting with Japanese fans. When the stands, on which the fans of other countries were sitting, were already completely empty, the «samurai», despite the loss of their team and the tiring Volgograd heat, took up blue garbage bags and began to clean up. Young people, fanning themselves with cardboard fans and dripping sweat, collected plastic bottles, mugs and other candy wrappers left by the fans. At a press conference in Volgograd before the match with Poland, the goalkeeper of the Japanese national team said that it was a common thing for his compatriots to clean the stands of stadiums, and indeed the garbage around him. This tradition began at the 2014 championship.

On the day of the end of the 2018 World Cup, pouring rain fell on Volgograd. This was the first major test for the stadium. A huge landslide descended from the slope near the Volgograd Arena stadium, which actually buried Zero Longitudinal.

The contractors who built the stadium had to restore the damage after the rain. At the same time, the head of the construction of the stadium, Sergei Kamin, argued that the washed-out slope is almost the only weak point of the stadium.

In 2019, the stadium itself suffered from heavy rain. The internal premises were flooded.

The Stroytransgaz company explained the flooding of the premises of the Volgograd Arena stadium on June 16 with the repair work of the sewage system, which was overflowing with rainwater as a result of the last downpour.

“The storm sewage system of the stadium is now at the stage of maintenance,” the Stroytransgaz company told V1.RU. — The waterproofing is being partially restored, so a small local downpour caused an overflow of the sewerage system.

There were no serious consequences from the water that appeared in the corridors of the Volgograd Arena.

A few months before the flood, the owner of the stadium, the Sport Engineering company, announced the purchase, the price of which was 7.5 million rubles. For this money, the performer had to find defects and damage to the sports facility, which was handed over just a year ago. At the end of 2019, the stadium was transferred to the Volgograd Region.

Now at the stadium, the Volgograd football club «Rotor», which is located at the bottom of the tournament table, trains and holds meetings of the Premier League. At the same time, a year ago, when the team played in the first division, the matches of their favorite team beat attendance records. As for the unsportsmanlike life of the stadium, there are not so many events. In the fall of 2019, a concert of the Leningrad group was held there, which was attended by more than 40 thousand people. And in the summer of 2021, the group «Hands up» is expected there. Let’s face it — sparsely.

Rostov: Karpin and his popular team save the stadium

The Rostov stadium became famous for the criminal case and scandals related to the use of cheap sand in the construction of a football arena, as mentioned above. The damage was estimated at 223 million rubles.

Among other things, in 2020 the lawn deteriorated — bald spots appeared on it. Local authorities blamed Sport-Engineering for this, but they still had to correct the situation themselves. By that time, Sport-Engineering had already been fined for violations during the construction of the stadium.

Despite all the problems, Rostov Arena is one of the few stadiums built for the World Cup, which remained in demand even after the end of the World Cup. The stadium is visited by tens of thousands of spectators every month. It’s all about the popularity of the Rostov football club, which, under the leadership of Valery Karpin, regularly claims prizes in the Russian Premier League.

The territory of the Left Bank of the Don around the arena also began to be actively built up after the World Cup. A park was set up here (criticized, however, by the urbanist Ilya Varlamov), there are going to move attractions and sports facilities. Companies associated with the president of FC Rostov Artashes Harutyunyants are planning to implement several large development projects there. But for now, there are mostly meadows and asphalt fields around the arena, which come to life only on the days of football matches.

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