The Krestovsky Stadium is a football stadium located in the Western portion of Krestovsky Island in St. Petersburg, Russia. It is commonly known as the Zenit Arena.
The stadium was built at a cost of $1.1 billion, and is considered to be one of the most expensive stadiums ever to be built in the history of the sport. The futuristic and exquisite design of the stadium has left many fans of the game in awe.
St. Petersburg Stadium was built after demolishing the former Kirov Stadium in the same location.
Planning for the new stadium began during late 2005, and first construction was started by the end of 2008. The stadium was initially planned to be completed by 2009, but the construction was hampered by a series of delays, which included a change in design for complying with FIFA requirements and looking into fraud investigations.
The successful World Cup bid, however, meant that the capacity of the stadium had to be expanded from 40,000 to around 70,000 to meet the footfall. The new stadium was opened in 2017 to the public and can now cater to a full capacity of 68,134 people.
The stadium was initially supposed to be funded by the Russian gas giant, Gazprom. However, after the pull out of Gazprom from the project for reasons unknown, the project was taken over by the city administration. The work finally gained some momentum in 2016 and the stadium was completed in April 2017, however, overall costs crept past the $1 billion mark, which made it one of the most expensive stadiums ever to be built in the history of the sport.
The first official match at Saint Petersburg Stadium was played on 22 April 2017, when Zenit hosted the Ural for a league match, in which the Zenits triumphed 2-0.
The stadium has hosted three first-round matches and the final of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.
The stadium is also scheduled to host four first-round matches, one quarter-final, and one semi-final during the 2018 World Cup. The stadium is also supposed to host some of the matches during the Euro 2020.
Krestovsky stadium was completed eight years behind schedule and 540% over budget.
The scandals that have plagued the project since construction started in 2007 have made it a symbol of corruption in Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
This might have a deep scar on the Russian economy which is already passing through a passage of dip in its economy. The escalating costs might well lead to an altogether different ball game in Russia.