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Sports Ministry Wants to Cancel Stadium Audits for World Cup

The Zenit stadium, under construction in St. Petersburg, will host World Cup matches but is not federally funded. Ekaterina Kuzmina

The Sports Ministry is proposing to cancel cost and technical audits for stadiums being built or reconstructed as part of Russia's hosting the 2018 World Cup, Vedomosti reported Thursday.

The ministry said that given the lack of a regulatory system for audits in Russia the process would slow down preparations and construction would not be completed in time for the soccer championship. According to the ministry, eliminating the audits would also save about $5.5 million on fees.

Officials at the Finance and Economic Development Ministries said they do not agree with the proposal. A spokesman for First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, who is responsible for World Cup preparations, said the document has not been received yet.

"No one wants the negative record [of $51 billion spending on Olympics construction] to be repeated, so the Sports Ministry's proposal has little chance of being approved, although the construction schedule for stadiums are already slipping toward the start of the championships," a federal official said.

An estimated $3 billion from the federal budget will be allocated for construction and reconstruction of stadiums in seven cities.

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