It’s official: Russia is hosting the most expensive World Cup in history.
Additional government subsidies announced Wednesday have raised the budget by $13 million (USD) amid concerns surrounding post-competition care of the stadiums.
The additional funding takes total spending on the World Cup to an estimated 679 billion rubles ($10.7 billion), though that figure does not include some key spending on infrastructure.
Analysis by Russian business news outlet RBK has put the total spending closer to $14 billion, which would make the Russian World Cup the most expensive ever.
Several Russian regional officials have asked for more federal spending after the World Cup to stop the stadiums losing millions of dollars a year, Bloomberg reports. The outlet claims it is because the stadiums are expensive to maintain and often several times larger than the average crowd for Russian league games.
The government decree will see $7.6 million go toward temporary World Cup infrastructure and $5.3 million to the state company responsible for maintaining the stadiums.
This is not the first time the Russian World Cup budget has increased. It was a similar story last October when the Russian government signed a decree which boosted spending by $600 million. At that time the bulk of the World Cup budget (57.6 per cent) came from Russian federal funding. Another 13.6 per cent was taken from regional government budgets, while the further 28.8 per cent was derived from “legal entities,” a category which could include both private and state-run companies.
Perhaps Russia is hoping to avoid the mistakes of previous competition host nations. One year after the World Cup in Brazil, it was reported most of the 12 purpose-built competition stadiums had fallen into disuse. Brazil spent more than $3 billion on the stadiums, some of which were built in far-flung locations without popular local professional teams to sustain them after the tournament.
The Russian World Cup is scheduled to continue until July 15.