Amid Economic Crisis, Russia is Cutting Spending on Sports Facilities (and More) for the 2018 World Cup

It has been the summer of complaints about FIFA.

Well, except for the Women’s World Cup. No complaints there.

But in general, each day brings a new revelation and a new face/palm moment.

The latest was the announcement that Russia, in the midst of its economic crisis, was slashing its 2018 World Cup budget. (That’s right – the World Cup it is supposed to host). The total amount to be cut from the budget is 30 billion roubles (about $560 million.)

Russia, it should be noted, won the right to host the event with a bid promising new stadiums, hotels, training grounds and health facilities in addition to airport renovations and new high-speed rail links.

Before the new government decree, the World Cup organizers had already cut the number of training grounds and reduced the capacity of some of the venues to save on building costs.

That ought to go over well with athletes, most of whom are expecting world-class facilities for training and competition.

Russia has also cut at least 25 hotels that were planned to be built. Recently, a report noted that spectators and journalists might just find themselves sleeping on boats or pitching tents in Soviet-era summer camps.

And that ought to go over well with the visitors. It should be noted that Russian officials said the old Pioneer camps from the Lenin era would be utilized. Those areas are “In the woods, near the rivers, lakes and water areas, beautiful places,” said one Russian official.

Get ready for a reboot of dispatches from disgruntled sports journalists who tweeted hilariously awful photos of subpar accommodations at the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

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