The Economic Development Ministry has shot down a proposal to start building stadiums for the 2018 football World Cup without waiting for the projects to be audited, preferring to risk missing construction deadlines rather than a repeat of Sochi Olympic-style cost overruns, Kommersant reported Monday.
Seven of Russia's 11 host cities need new venues, which could cost the state 100 billion rubles ($2.8 billion), and an unidentified government official said that only one audit — for the stadium project in Samara — has so far been completed.
In an effort to speed up the process, the Sports Ministry suggested amending a 2008 government decree that obliges all investment projects using state funds to be audited, Kommersant reported, citing a copy of the minutes for a recent meeting attended by Deputy Economic Development Minister Yevgenia Yelina.
The government, however, is anxious to avoid a repeat of what happened in Sochi — where construction costs for Winter Olympic venues spiraled to 1.5 trillion rubles (43 billion rubles), seven times higher than the original estimates — and the Economic Development Ministry insisted that the audits be carried out.
The respective ministries have yet to officially comment on the outcome of the meeting.