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Zenit Stadium Expected to Be Done by 2015

Vitaly Mutko speaking with the mascot for the 2013 World Championships. Dmitry Lovetsky

Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko announced Tuesday that St. Petersburg would be able to independently finish Russian football's most expensive and overextended construction project on time.

"It is doable, the tax base allows it. The construction of the [Zenit] stadium was simply delayed, and the resources provided perhaps went to the development of the city instead," Mutko said at the opening of the SportAccord International Convention in St. Petersburg, Interfax reported Tuesday.

He also said the Zenit stadium on Krestovsky Island would be completed in time to become one of the arenas for the FIFA World Cup, which Russia is set to host in 2018.

This year's SportAccord International Convention looks set to highlight Russia's determination to restore the country's image as a major sports power, with President Vladimir Putin scheduled to attend the event on Thursday.

In addition, the International Olympic Committee's executive board is due to hear presentations at the convention from eight sports hoping to be included in the 2020 Olympics, including wrestling, which was unexpectedly dropped in February.

Construction of the 69,000-seater arena for the Zenit football club began in 2007. After its participation in the World Cup was announced, the project was sent back for revision to ensure that it was fully consistent with FIFA requirements.

The opening date has repeatedly been postponed. The opening date is currently slated for December 2015.

According to the latest data, the total construction cost of the project is 34 billion rubles ($1.1 billion).

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