Russian officials looked to assuage fears of more delays in the construction of the World Cup venue in St. Petersburg, but FIFA inspectors weren’t so optimistic.
Both parties agreed that work still needs to be done on the troubled stadium, with the main issue being vibrations on the retractable field that is causing structural instability and general concern at a stadium that has already seen numerous delays and cost increases.
Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko conceded that there are problems, saying, “The issue is that the field rolls into the stadium on an unstable base and needs to be strengthened.” However, Mutko looked to ease fears by saying that the problems are “nothing unusual” and that it would still be completed next month.
However, there was a different tune from the FIFA inspectors that brought these issues to light, telling local government that there are “concerns regarding the retractable field, access control and training fields.”
The retractable field allows the field to roll to the exterior of the stadium. This system is meant to allow grass to recover from damage better by growing outside the stadium, and it allows for the venue to field other events outside of sports without damaging the natural surface. There is a similar system at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale Arizona, a venue that regularly hosts the Arizona Cardinals and has also hosted two Super Bowls and is in the rotation for the College Football Playoff.