The Central Stadium or the Ekaterinburg Arena is located in Yekaterinburg, Russia and is the only venue of the 2018 FIFA World Cup that stands in Asian Russia. The stadium is situated in the centre of the city Ekaterinburg, which also houses the largest sporting facilities in the Urals.
Among the 12 venues of the World Cup, the Central Stadium is the only venue apart from Luzhniki Stadium that was not built from scratch but was in fact renovated from an existing stadium.
The arena, which will become the home stadium for the team FK Ural right after the World Cup, has the capacity to accommodate over 35,696 fans. However, the authorities plan to reduce the capacity to 23,000 spectators by removing the temporary stands after the world cup 2018.
The stadium was built in 1957 and is only a year younger than the National Stadium. The arena has hosted umpteen sporting and entertainment events, including the World Allround Speed Skating Championships, which was held in 1969. Although full international matches are yet to take place in the stadium, it has hosted a few under-21 games in the past.
A monument to Stalinist architecture, some parts of the Arena were preserved to make it a perfect blend of modern technology and historical beauty. Despite undergoing reconstruction between 2007 and 2011, the arena failed to meet the FIFA requirements and had to undergo renovation again, which started in 2015. Reconstructed at a cost of $215 million, the stadium will host four matches of the FIFA World Cup.
The stadium is one of the most controversial stadiums in Russia, mainly because of the temporary stands erected behind the goals. The stands were added in order to make room for an additional 10,000 spectators, a move which was ridiculed heavily on social media and raised doubts about the success of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
FIFA World Cup Matches
The stadium will host four group-league matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. On June 15, Egypt will play Uruguay in a Group A encounter. Five days later on June 21, France will take on Peru in a Group C clash.
Japan will be up against Senegal in a Group H match on June 24. The arena will witness the clash of Mexico and Sweden in a Group F encounter on June 27.