News Live Scores
World Cup

Future of Samara Arena up in the air as doubts arise over Krylya Sovetov's finances

9:42 PM IST 09/07/18
Samara Arena Krylya Sovetov World Cup stadium
There are still reservations over what will happen to the slick new stadium that has played hosts to the likes of England and Brazil

Krylya Sovetov remain unaware of the full arrangement surrounding the $320 million (£243m) Samara Arena, but have had some assurances from the government that they can open their season against CSKA Moscow at the 44,918 seater stadium.

The World Cup stadium has played host to six games at this summer’s tournament and most recently saw England beat Sweden 2-0 to book their first semi-final since 1990.

However, there are still some doubts over the ultimate cost and arrangement around handing it over to local side Krylya Sovetov, who only regained promotion to the Russian Premier League last season.

The club’s vice CEO Zurab Tsiklauri spoke about how his side remain unsure of just how much the government-owned stadium will cost to rent, as they await more details with the last World Cup game at the venue having already taken place.

"Until recently we had been playing on the old stadium that was built in the 60s," Tsiklauri told Goal. "To be honest it doesn’t fit any norms or standards anymore. Therefore it’s such an amazing thing that we have this new modern stadium built in Samara.

"I think this stadium would be an extra motivation for increasing the number of spectators coming to watch the Premier League games of our club. If the team will play well and the club will show good football we would easily see 25,000 to 30,000 people in the stands.

"As far as I am concerned, after the end of the World Cup, we are supposed to move into the new stadium and start playing there. On July 30, we have a game with CSKA scheduled here at the new Samara Arena. So we’ll do our best to make our fans happy, even though it’s not that easy to do.

"Honestly, I know all the details about the sport part but not the construction or renting part. We are expecting the final answer. I hope that there won’t be any problems for the club. However, I have heard that for some time the government would be in charge of everything, but after a period, the stadium is supposed to go under club ownership. That’s what I’ve heard and that’s what we are expecting."

The likes of Czech Republic legend Jan Koller and former Arsenal and Barcelona man Alexander Hleb are just two well-known players who have played for Kylya Sovetov, which translates into English as Soviet Wings, in homage to the city’s plane building industry.

Aleksander Fetisov is the vice governor of Samara region and head of the organising committee of the World Cup in Samara. He thinks that the final details for the transition of the stadium to the local team will happen in time, but couldn’t offer any guarantees.

“Now that we are back in the Premier League and with a few test games played in the new stadium we can say that the new field has brought luck to the club,” Fetisov told Goal

“I hope that with first game of the RPL happening at Samara Arena on July 31, with one of the strongest clubs CSKA [visiting], it will be a successful one. Krylya Sovetov has always been one of the most supported clubs in Eastern Europe so I think they will fill it.”

However, former player Eugeni Gezko is doubtful over the arrangements after being unimpressed after watching a press conference about the transition.

“Krylya's move is not set in stone you know, since the stadium belongs to the government. So it’s not a privately owned stadium,” Gezko told Goal. “Yesterday I attended the press conference where the Minister of Sport and Jan Koller said that the price for maintenance for this stadium is 400m rubles a year, and they don’t have that amount of money.

“So for the next two years the government will be paying 95% of the rent for the team. What happens in two years time? Nobody knows. But moving from here would, of course, be a big step for the team. Can you imagine playing on this ancient ground and then at Samara Arena?! Everything is so much better there, including the field itself.”

Samara has undoubtedly enjoyed hosting the World Cup and has seen a huge boost in investment to the area. Aside from the stadium, some of the investment has gone towards two five-star hotels being built, 67 extra ambulances being provided to the local area and many football pitches having been built in the region.

With thanks to contributions from Valerie Mitroshenko and Harry West.