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10 Years And $1.4 Billion Later, Zenit Arena Is Ready For The Confederations Cup

Zenit Arena in St Petersburg will host the opening and closing matches of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.

Zenit Arena, which will be called Saint Petersburg Stadium during the 2017 Confederations Cup and 2018 World Cup, has finally hosted its first event after beginning construction in 2007.

The 68,134-capacity arena is located on Krestovsky Island in Saint Petersburg and will host the opening match of the Confederations Cup (June 17, Russia vs. New Zealand), as well as the final on July 2. The stadium will also hold four group matches, a round of 16 game, a semifinal and the third place match at the 2018 World Cup.

Zenit Arena

Photo: @StadiumDB | Twitter

The stadium was supposed to be completed by December 2008, but numerous delays pushed that date back to 2011. By 2013, the original developer was taken off the project and a new company was hired.

In 2015, work halted after a pay dispute involving the workers who’d supplied the electricity and piping. The problems with installing the retractable roof and sliding pitch were so severe that Russian President Vladimir Putin intervened to say that organizers needed “a kick up the backside”. 

The stadium, the most northerly arena to ever host World Cup matches, finally staged an extreme sports show this week after 10 years of work. At a cost estimated to be approaching $1.4 billion, the stadium is possibly the world’s most expensive soccer stadium. 

It was originally forecast to cost $400 million.