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Jun 13, 2013

Russia's projected 2018 costs spiral

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has predicted that the total cost for the 2018 World Cup will be more than $20 billion, around double the amount his country originally estimated.

• Putin allows World Cup alcohol

When Russia first won the bid to host the World Cup back in December 2010, the then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin projected the costs to be around $10 billion. However, in just two-and-a-half years, those costs have spiralled.

Medvedev met with his cabinet on Thursday and told them that $13 billion would be provided by the federal budget, although he failed to make it clear where the rest of the money was going to come from.

The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, one of now-Russian President Putin's pet projects, has also seen spiralling costs, with original estimates rising nearly four times up to $51 billion.

Meanwhile, the completion date for Zenit St Petersburg's $1.1 billion stadium has been delayed once again, and it may not be able to open until at least 2017 - a decade after construction work first began.

The stadium is set to host a 2018 World Cup semi-final, however, the latest setback means that it may struggle to be ready for the 2017 Confederations Cup, which it is also scheduled to host games for.

"The [completion] terms, in the best case, are the end of 2016 or the start of 2017," Sergei Stepashin, the head of the government agency auditing the project, said.

To make matters worse, a criminal investigation into alleged fraud on the project has been opened after Russia's Investigative Committee said that costs could have been overstated by $16.5 million.

This follows on from auditors finding $4.9 million of "unnecessary costs" and a further $9.2 million spent on unusable seats back in March.

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