Russia doubles World Cup cost forecast to $20 billion

Moscow: Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said Sunday the 2018 Football World Cup is projected to cost $19.2 billion, nearly double the initial forecasts.

All 12 stadiums required for the tournament are in need of construction or refurbishment, but most of the budget will be spent on dramatic upgrades to transport and hospitality infrastructure in the 11 host cities, Mutko said.

The new 600 billion ruble budget is nearly two times greater than the sum named by then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin when Russia was awarded the rights 22 months ago.

"These are not the final numbers," Mutko added at a news conference with FIFA president Sepp Blatter Sunday. "You can call the figures a rough estimate."

"It is what is required to do everything necessary so we can stage a high-quality championships."

Mutko said the time that has passed since the award ceremony in Zurich had allowed for a "complete revision" of the costs.

The costs are to be split 50-50 between public and private sector, Mutko said, as the country forges ahead with building the 1,070 various facilities needed to hold the event.

Aside from the arenas themselves, that figure includes roads, hotels, airports, new runways, hospitals, security and myriad associated infrastructure.

"Not one city is ready today," said Mutko. "Not even Moscow."

The announcement comes a day after Russia unveiled the 11 host cities for the tournament.

Russia beat a bid from England and two joint bids, one from Portugal and Spain, the other from Belgium and the Netherlands, to host the 2018 World Cup.


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