After the IAAF World Championships, Luzhniki Stadium will go dark for a few years. (Getty Images)

FIFA, Moscow Agree on Luzhniki Capacity

FIFA will allow Moscow organizers to reduce the capacity of Luzhniki Stadium from 89,000 to 81,000 for games to be played in the 2018 World Cup, a City Hall official told Ria Novosti on Tuesday.

There had been plans in place to use 89,000 seats, which is the official listed capacity of the nearly 60-year old building. However, many seats in the rows nearest the field were found to have limited views.

With those seats out of play, adding 8,000 seats elsewhere would require a total demolition, a measure that is seen to be cost prohibitive.

Russian PM Signs Order for Funds

Ria Novosti reports that $88 million is headed toward the stadium construction process in seven 2018 World Cup regions following an order signed by Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday.

It is the first of several payouts expected from a government that plans on spending $7.5 billion across 12 arenas and their infrastructure.

This initial burst of funds will go toward research and development on these seven venues, which are expected to seat about 45,000 fans each for matches in group play.

The total budget for World Cup 2018 is $20 billion, about a third of which is expected from the private sector. The remainder of public money that does not go into stadiums will cover a number of transportation and infrastructure upgrades.

Luzhniki Closing For Renovations

Though its enjoying the international sports spotlight while it hosts the IAAF World Championships, Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium will soon go dark for an extensive renovation.

Alterations mean the building will be closed for “several years,” according to Lebanon’s The Daily Star. The building is considered a Moscow treasure, having hosted the Opening Ceremonies and several events as part of the 1980 Summer Olympics.

“The arena, which is also a historic monument, will not be demolished,” Moscow’s chief architect Sergei Kuznetsov told the Star. “But it’s also impossible to leave it as is because it doesn’t fit the strict FIFA demands for World Cup venues.

“The outward appearance of the venue will not be seriously changed, to keep this historic memory of the nation alive.”

The venue opened in 1956 and underwent a first renovation in 1995. It is expected to reopen in 2017.

Wunna Theikdi Stadium in Myanmar will host the opening ceremony of the upcoming Southeast Asian Games. (Getty Images)

Myanmar Stadium Damaged

Fans in Myanmar removed seats and damaged
the pitch at Wunna Theikdi Stadium, a building set to host the opening ceremony of the upcoming Southeast Asian Games.

According to AFP, Sunday’s match was the first in the stadium since it was built in Naypyidaw, the nation’s capital.

“Violence…was mainly caused by some drunken fans. [T]hey shouted and destroyed some seats during the match. Some even went onto the pitch,” said Myanmar Football Federation spokesman Soe Moe, “So things were out of control.”

The match was called before halftime after fighting broke out between the players of the two teams, Naypyidaw FC and Yangon United FC, and spread to the fans.

Orlando Stadium Plan Delayed

A proposal to spend $60 million on three Orlando facilities, including a proposed Major League Soccer stadium, hit a snag on Tuesday, according to WESH-TV Orlando.

The plan would see that money drawn from tourism taxes, but officials are concerned that committing future funds to the venues will shortchange the industry on the whole, in terms of promoting tourism and maintaining the city’s convention center.

Under the proposal, $20 million would go toward a proposed MLS venue near the city’s NBA arena.

However, commissioner Ted Edwards said, “I would not support Major League Soccer the way it’s being packaged today.”

By INSIDER’s Nick Devlin

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