Recent Issues with St. Petersburg Stadium in Russia Might Foreshadow Problems with Stadium for 2018 World Cup

Apparently, it’s just not possible these days to have international soccer without some controversy. The St. Petersburg Stadium, home turf to the Zenit, is currently the cause of complaints over the facility surface.

And fixing those issues became critical, since at the time problems were discovered, the venue was getting set to host the 2017 Confederations Cup, held last weekend. Even more importantly, the field will play host during the 2018 World Cup, so this is especially embarrassing to Russia.

According to a Reuters article, an inaugural match was held at the stadium in April, at which time, there were multiple complaints about the grass itself, mainly because players said it was too long. But those weren’t the only issues.

The article noted,

Prior to the problems with the grass, issues with the stadium’s retractable pitch technology also caused the playing surface to vibrate, rendering it unfit for matches.

Colin Smith, director of competitions for global soccer body FIFA, told reporters that the stadium’s “young pitch” had sustained damage from the matches, as well as from warm-up sessions.

“We did significant to dressing last night,” Smith told reporters at a news conference in St Petersburg.

In addition to topdressing the field, an accelerated growth schedule had to be maintained, so Smith said greenhouse structures had been installed over the weaker areas and grow lights have been permanently set up. He added that rainy weather conditions had “not helped the growth of the problem areas” on the field.

This preparation prevented Confederations Cup practices from being held there, something else players were upset about.

Smith was taking a glass-half-full approach, noting, “Very importantly, these improvements will also serve as very valuable lessons looking ahead to next year’s FIFA World Cup.”

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